While Manchester City fans everywhere are no doubt relishing the idea of Pep Guardiola potentially taking over from Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad, one man who could be losing sleep for all the wrong reasons is Yaya Toure.
The Citizens’ main man, Toure moved to the Sky Blues from Barcelona, where he previously worked under the Spaniard.
And it’s this history, coupled with Guardiola’s track record when it comes to ageing or temperamental talent that could have the Ivorian concerned.
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A remnant of the Frank Rijkaard era, Toure enjoyed two happy seasons under the Dutch coach before Barca dispensed with his services.
In his place came Guardiola, a manager with a clear idea of the style his wished to adopt and the players he wanted to do it with.
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Unfortunately for Toure, that rarely included him.
Having starred as a combative midfielder in the centre of the park for Barca, the Ivorian found himself relegated to the bench with Guardiola preferring to start academy product Sergio Busquets in that role.
Toure had to make do with bit-part appearances over the course of his final appearance for the club, culminating in the 2009 Champions League final – a game that saw the African start at centre-back for the Catalans.
Worse still, like many unwanted players under Guardiola – Zlatan Ibrahimovic for example – Toure endured a strained relationship with the Barca boss.
"Whenever I asked him something, he always gave strange answers," Toure told ONA FM in quotes published by Goal.com.
"He pretty much ignored me until City's offer came in. That's why I eventually opted to leave.”
Having moved on to City, where he was given a free reign to push forward from midfield, the Ivorian may already be concerned that a repeat could be on the cards, should the Guardiola arrive.
After all, he saw a similar, if not precisely the same, scenario play out with Ronaldinho at Camp Nou.
A favourite of the Barcelona faithful during his early trophy-winning years at the club, the Brazilian’s fitness, focus and attitude had all come into question in the time leading up to Guardiola’s arrival.
So when it came to his first order of business, Pep decided to make a statement, with Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto’o all told they could move on.
Having faced questions about his own fitness and outspoken attitude off the pitch, Toure could face a similar dilemma, whereby Guardiola would expect the African to react accordingly.
Speaking in quotes reported by the BBC, back when Ronaldinho was ousted from the Barca ranks, Guardiola explained the decision thusly:
"If I felt that he [Ronaldinho] wanted to be the player he was again, he would be here…But the situation has deteriorated and the solution is to build a strong dressing-room."
Aside from potentially being challenged by the Spaniard on his application and attitude, there’s also the small matter of Toure’s advancing years.
With Guardiola favouring younger talent over tried and tested stars, it would not be surprising to see the Ivorian moved on, in a similar way to the transfer that saw Mr Bayern Munich, Bastian Schweinsteiger, head to Manchester United.
Such speculation around Toure’s perception of events at Manchester City is not without foundation either.
Toure’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, has already expressed these concerns ahead of Guardiola’s possible move to the Etihad, with Sky Sports reporting:
“I don’t know what Guardiola’s plans are, but – after what happened at Barcelona – of course it is a worry that when he comes Yaya will be out.”
With half a season left to impress both in the Premier League and Champions League, Toure needs to rediscover his goalscoring form, improve his fitness and focus on events on the pitch.
Do that and there may just be one last chapter in his Manchester City story yet.
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