Yaya Toure has signed a new contract at Manchester City, and called for their critics to remember just how far the club has progressed in recent years.
Last month the agent of the Ivorian revealed that the player would seek a transfer in the summer, unless a new and improved deal was agreed within 48 hours. As reported here, this was always going to be taken with a pinch of salt from the Blues, who were always confident of keeping the midfield player who has made a huge impact since his 2010 arrival.
Toure scored the only goal of the game in both the 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final, to give City their first silverware in 35 years. And last season, he established himself as one of the key players in the Premier League as his side won the league title for the first time since 1968.
It had been suggested, mostly by his agent, that a return to Barcelona could be on the cards at the end of the season, although he also mischievously hinted at interest from Chelsea and neighbours Manchester United. The 29-year-old, though, has ended all speculation over his future, by signing a new deal which is designed to keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2017.
“This is where I want to be,” he said. “I will never forget how I have been treated here by the fans, the club, and the owners, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish my career as a Manchester City player. I have enjoyed all of my time here and can’t wait for the next chapter.”
After the highs of winning the title on goal-difference last season, courtesy of a stoppage time Sergio Aguero goal, it looks certain that United will wrestle their title back off their rivals this season. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side hold a 15-point advantage over Roberto Mancini’s side, and if they win the derby on Monday evening, they will require just four points from their last seven matches.
Whilst most City fans are resigned to relinquishing their grip on the Premier League crown, they are still in with a shout of a second FA Cup success in three years. They face Chelsea in the semi-final at Wembley next weekend, the winner of which will take on Wigan Athletic or Millwall in the final. And with a top-four place in the Premier League looking secured, it’s not all doom and gloom.
“Of course now it looks likely that we will not successfully defend the Premier League title and that is sad for all of us,” Toure continued. “But we can still finish second and win the FA Cup for a second time in three years, and that is still an achievement for a club that won nothing for a long time.”