Yaya Toure has gone stale at Manchester City.
It is a fact that will draw insistences to the contrary from the club itself, and their unwaveringly loyal support, but his performances this season have left much to be desired. Even as City were knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend, the statements that his presence would have altered fate were said with less gusto than is normal.
But a reunion with Roberto Mancini could revive him. Inter Milan are a club keen to hit the heights of yesteryear and end Juventus’ spell of domestic domination. It would be the perfect move, for everybody involved.
Toure, on his day, is magnificent. A bulldozer, with the pace of a tiger and strength of a Roman gladiator. When at full tilt, he is unstoppable. It is for that reason why Manuel Pellegrini can forgive him for his sins.
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This term however has seen less of the brute of 12 months ago. A year ago his stunning form was elevating him to a place amongst the world’s elite, and propelling City gradually closer to the Premier League title. Now, Sergio Aguero is the one guarantee pick and the rest of the team can be open to debate.
Much was made of his tantrum about not being given a cake by the club to celebrate his birthday. Amusing though it was things have clearly not been the same since and, with Pellegrini’s future set to be determined come the end of the season, he could leave for a new challenge in Serie A.
Despite results and performances on the pitch still not quite up to scratch, Inter are keen to emerge from their dark days in the wilderness. Mancini’s second coming has paid dividends in the transfer market, and Toure could be the next superstar to touch down at the San Siro.
Lukas Podolski was the first, ending his difficult spell in north London with Arsenal on loan before probably making the transfer permanent this coming summer. The passing shot aimed at Arsene Wenger on his way out of the Emirates Stadium shows his future clearly lies away from English football.
Meanwhile then came the significant coup in the form of Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss maestro remains a raw talent and joined after falling down the pecking order at Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich. With his pedigree high, Inter jumped ahead of the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool to win the race for his services.
Toure would be a huge addition for Inter and a significant statement of intent. His arrival would send shockwaves through the footballing world, and be another piece in the jigsaw as Mancini sets about building a dynasty at the club.