LONDON: Midfielder Yaya Toure is threatening his own single-handed contribution to help Manchester City cut their squad size next season as ordered by UEFA over financial fair play breaches.
City have been fined and ordered to use only a 21-player squad in the Champions League next season. Toure will be one of the players missing if he fulfils a threat made by Dmitry Seluk, his Russian agent.
On the day City came up with a cake – seven days late – to celebrate the 31-year-old Toure’s birthday last week, Seluk accused the club of treating him with “disrespect.”
He said: “”Yaya is so upset, he is thinking of leaving City. A number of things have left him feeling bitterly upset. City have treated him with disrespect and have really hurt him.
“What happened at his birthday meant the club don’t care about him. It was proof. They can say whatever they want, ‘Oh we like him, but we forgot.’ None of them shook his hand on his birthday.
“It shows they don’t care about him. They don’t know that money can’t buy relationships – no Sheikh can buy a relationship.”
Touré, who has complained on more than one occasion this season that his ability is overlooked because he is African, tried to cool the row via Twitter.
He said: “Thanks for all the birthday messages today . . . Please do not take words that do not come out of MY mouth seriously. Judge my commitment by my performances.”
One player keen to leave City to obtain more Premier League action is James Milner. The 28-year-old, one of City’s few senior England players, is impatient at being mainly a substitute and is being targeted by Arsenal and Liverpool.
** Paul Lambert remains manager of Aston Villa while Randy Lerner negotiates with potential new owners. Hence the former Dortmund midfielder must sign new players without knowing whether he will be managing them next season.