RUMOURS: PSG plan moves for Toure and Schweinsteiger

The pair have both been frozen out at their respective clubs, and the Ligue 1 champions are willing to offer £1.5 million for each midfielder

Paris Saint-Germain are set to make January moves for both Yaya Toure and Bastian Schweinsteiger, according to the Daily Star.

The midfield pair have been frozen out at Manchester City and Manchester United respectively and are free to leave in the upcoming transfer window.

Ligue 1 champions PSG are willing to offer around £1.5 million for each player as they look to bolster their squad for the second half of the campaign.

Both players are eligible to play in the Champions League, which has peaked the interest of Unai Emery’s side.


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Man City must tell 's***' Guardiola to stop, says Toure's agent

The midfielder has been frozen out under the Catalan boss, and his representative has again taken the former Barcelona head coach to task over his treatment of his client

Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk has launched a fresh attack on Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, urging the club to intervene and tell him the midfielder is considered as “family” at the Etihad Stadium.

‘Walcott is a completely different player’

Seluk previously slammed the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach for “humiliating” Toure by leaving him out of his first-team plans and the club’s Champions League squad, before going on to talk down the Catalan’s coaching achievements at his old clubs.

Guardiola has said Toure will not play for him again at City until he and the club’s players receive an apology from the midfielder over his representative’s remarks.

But Seluk has already insisted he will not be saying sorry and feels there is nothing wrong with questioning Guardiola’s decision to only play Toure once this season – against Steaua Bucharest in August. 

The agent feels owner Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak must act, saying to The Sun: “They must say to Guardiola, ‘Yaya is our family’ – how is it possible to speak like this?

“It is not correct to do that. It is not correct to give up on a top-class player. But this is his decision – he is a good coach but his personality is s***.

“If Yaya is on the field or not, everyone will ask, ‘What is this decision from Guardiola?’ Normally a person cannot make a decision like this. 

“And it is England, not North Korea or Afghanistan – so people will discuss whether it is right and they will have their opinions.

“It is necessary to remember that Yaya, when he was in Barcelona, played as a defender and they won against Man United [in the 2009 Champions League final].

“It is very strange. All supporters like Guardiola but my opinion is that supporters also see that Yaya gave City a lot. They won the title two times with him and won cups.

“We’ll see what Pep does. Many people don’t understand how it is possible to do what he has done with players.”

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Seluk insists that Toure will see out his contract until the end of the season unless City approach him and reach acceptable terms with his client to leave the Etihad Stadium, while again questioning the acclaim received by Guardiola, who has won 10 straight matches since taking charge.

“He has a contract until June and he will stay,” continued Seluk.

“If they want him to leave they must make a conversation with me and then it is if we agree.

“Okay, Guardiola has won matches this season, so everyone must only see his fantastic football. But his personality is far from great. I repeat the message from everywhere that he has been from Barcelona to Bayern Munich. Many people don’t like him.

“When Yaya came to the club they spent only £20 million on players, not Guardiola who comes and buys three or four big signings – maybe he’ll spend £1 billion on players.

“After that he will say it is very difficult and £1bn is not enough. If he comes to West Brom would he win the title?

“[Claudio] Ranieri, [Ronald] Koeman and [Mauricio] Pochettino show what is possible with less money. It is more easy with half a billion pounds.”

Guardiola reveals toughest decision at Man City & leaves Toure out of training

The Blues boss says he does not enjoy making controversial decisions but that he has to do so for the good of the club, rather than to prove he is in charge

Pep Guardiola insists he does not ostracise players simply to prove he is boss and says moving on Joe Hart has been the toughest decision of his time at Manchester City so far.

Guardiola sent England No.1 Hart out on loan after deciding he did not feature in his best XI and earlier this week revealed that Yaya Toure will not play for the club again until he apologises for comments made by his agent.

It can also now be revealed that Toure did not travel with the rest of the City squad to Wales for their four-day training camp either side of their two matches with Swansea City.

Toure trained on Monday and Tuesday after missing several days with a migraine but has not been with the group since Guardiola told the press he has no chance of playing due to Dimitri Seluk’s public outbursts.

Seluk hit back at Guardiola on Tuesday afternoon, insisting, among other things, that the Catalan kicks out players with big personalities so he can stamp his authority on the dressing room.

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But the City manager says he would rather not have to make tough decisions at all.

“Believe me, I don’t take the decisions to show my authority,” Guardiola told reporters. “With these kinds of decisions, forget about it. I don’t like to take those decisions.

“The toughest decision I made was over Joe. I know what Joe Hart means to this club. His behaviour, from the beginning when we spoke to each other, Joe with me… it was tough.”

But Guardiola does acknowledge that his players must accept the choices he makes, because he is the “chief”.

He added: “I don’t know whether they agree or not but what happens in my team, in the squad, I am the chief. I’m the manager and I’m going to decide. Not for me, I don’t like to do that. But it’s the best for the club.”

When Guardiola sold Samuel Eto’o a month after the striker played a vital role in Barcelona’s 2009 treble win, he insisted that the decision, based on “a question of smell”, was “for the best of the team and the club” and that “if I’m wrong, the responsibility will be mine alone”.

He echoed those sentiments earlier this week, saying he will ultimately be held responsible for any failings at City and even suggesting his decisions over Hart and Toure could be thrown back in his face when the club’s winning run comes to an end.

“I learned that in Barcelona,” he reflected. “When I take a decision it is always because I am thinking what is the best for Manchester City. The best.

“Making mistakes… I know what’s going to happen when we are going to lose. All the reasons why we are losing must be because of the coach, the manager.

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“I have to be honest with myself. I have to be honest with the club. So the club – I take the decision always for the benefit of the club. Knowing maybe I am going to make a mistake but I have to do that. I have to do that.”

The 45-year-old believes he has got better at making these difficult decisions over time, although it appears keeping Toure out of his matchday squads will have been one of his easiest calls given his views on players’ agents or family members creating problems for the club.

“I did it when I was 37 years old with the first team in Barcelona so now I am older,” he continued. “So I have to do that. I have to do that. The club cannot accept that an agent talks to the media about the decision of the club. No, the club is not going to accept it. And the players know that.

“The agents, the wives, the fathers, the sons – talking about something which is not a good benefit for the club, they will not be part of the team. They will not be part of the team. The most important thing is the club.”

Seluk: Guardiola called Man City a 's*** team' in 2010

Yaya Toure’s representative has continued his war of words against the Catalan, calling the ex-Barcelona boss a hypocrite at only at the club for the money

Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk has continued his verbal offensive against Pep Guardiola, accusing the Manchester City boss of labelling his current club a “s*** team” back in 2010.

Guardiola said on Tuesday he would not select Toure for City until the player apologised for Seluk’s public complaints.

The coach had accussed the agent of disrespect when he remarked that the former Ivory Coast international was left “humiliated” by his omission from the Premier League leaders’ Champions League squad.

Far from backing down, Seluk launched a lengthy tirade in response in which he belittled Guardiola’s achievements and questioned his integrity over City announcing his appointment last season while Manuel Pellegrini was in charge.


READ MORE | What Rooney-dependent Mourinho could learn from Pep’s Yaya banishment


The agent continued the theme on Wednesday, claiming that Guardiola – then leading Barcelona – verbally disparaged City when Toure left Camp Nou in 2010.

“When Toure left the club to come to City, Guardiola told him he was leaving to a s*** team,” he told Radio Barcelona.

“Now, Guardiola has come to this s*** team. Guardiola likes money more than football.”

Toure reputedly joined City as the club’s highest earner and scored the winner in that season’s FA Cup final against Stoke City to end their 34-year trophy drought.

Further crucial goals and contributions followed on the way to glory in the 2011-12 and 2013-14 Premier League seasons.

The 33-year-old equalised in the 2014 League Cup final win over Sunderland before scoring the decisive penalty as City reclaimed the trophy at Wembley versus Liverpool this year.

But the current impasse now appears likely to see Toure’s decorated City career end in ignominy as his team-mates prepare to face Swansea City in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

What Rooney-dependent Mourinho could learn from Pep's Yaya banishment

The United captain has been in poor form and is being indulged by his new boss, which is in stark contrast to the treatment handed out on the other side of Manchester


COMMENT


Far be it for me to tell Jose Mourinho his business but there is a lesson for the ‘Special One’ to learn in Pep Guardiola’s treatment of Yaya Toure.

Manchester City have built their history at warp-speed following the Abu Dhabi takeover and in that timeframe Toure has come as close as anyone to being a modern-day City legend.

Captain, inspiration and veteran of plenty of trophy wins – including two Premier League titles – Yaya has proven to be precisely the type of signing City needed to make the world take the new iteration of their club seriously.

The esteem in which City supporters once held him has all but disintegrated in the last few weeks, however, as it dawns on them that the Ivorian seems to be taking the club for a ride.

Guardiola has made short work of various dressing-room problems, sending Joe Hart and Samir Nasir out on loan and initially insisting that Yaya drop to the required weight before being considered for selection.

Those players – along with Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero – have done more than many to build the new City from the foundations, but past performance was no guarantee of a future at Eastlands.

There is every chance that Guardiola is using the ongoing, unsavoury Dmitri Seluk episode as a smokescreen to continue his ostracising of the 33-year-old, but the important thing is that he is actually ostracising him.

Moving on from the weight issue – and when pressed again – Pep said that once Yaya worked harder off the ball he’d be picked. Whether it was his weight, his inability to conduct himself out of possession or his agent’s bone-headed comments to the media, Pep was always going to move the goal posts when it came to reasons for leaving him out.

Behind the scenes, City have all but washed their hands of Toure now. The club as a whole wanted him to clear off all summer and nobody expects Seluk to actually apologise.

Toure has given six seasons of good service to City – coinciding with their most important period in history – but aged 33 his time had come. He is not playing ball either – sitting as he is on the last year of his deal – and, from his perspective, why should he behave any differently?

He is on a mammoth contract – befitting his stature as a club icon – and will not easily take his leave in order to earn inferior pay elsewhere. He is a very expensive problem for Manchester City to have, but Guardiola has at least made a start on solving it by leaving him out of the team.

Contrast that, then, with the indulgence given to Wayne Rooney by Mourinho since day one. The stories of Toure and Rooney are similar in certain aspects but while Manchester United are showing ill-advised tolerance to Rooney’s ongoing decline in form, City and Pep have acted swiftly, brutally, decisively.

Rooney twice held United to ransom for a new contract, with news of one transfer request actually coming on the day of a Champions League match in 2010.

He and agent Paul Stretford have played United like a fiddle – demanding as they did another new contract when David Moyes was in charge and taking his earnings up to an estimated £300,000 per week at a time when they player was patently in decline.

At the season’s outset, Mourinho said Rooney was a goalscorer and would never consider him a midfielder. He has spent the early part of the campaign doing everything he can to keep Rooney in the team precisely in that position.

It’s as if Wayne Rooney – a striker – woke up one morning and decided he’s a midfielder and the world decided to go along with it. This is Emperor’s New Clothes stuff.

That indulgence is coming at the detriment to the team, with players like Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata all pushed out of the way in order to accommodate Rooney in the side.

There is a school of thought that United would be as well off with Rooney on the bench – or out of the club altogether. He is close to breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time United goal scoring record but among United’s core support it’s tough to find genuine affection for this version of Rooney. Most of them will be glad when he’s gone.


READ MORE | Fellaini: Man Utd are in crisis


Pep has taken on the big guns in his dressing room before and won – most notably when clearing Deco and Ronaldinho out of the Barcelona dressing room when the nameplate over Frank Rijkaard’s office door had barely been changed.

Mourinho tried it at Real Madrid – picking fights with Iker Casillas and Pepe among others – and had no success. Maybe this time he decided he needed an ally and that is leading to his reluctance to binning Rooney.

Don’t forget that City only just scraped into the Champions League qualifiers ahead of United last season. It seemed before either Mourinho or Guardiola appeared on the scene that both sides were as bad as each other. The early part of the season – including the head-to-head battle at Old Trafford – has shown us that Pep is light years ahead of his rival.

His trust in youth and calculated yet democratic manner in dealing with the players – regardless of reputation – is proving more effective than Mourinho’s bewildering dependence on one old head in his squad in particular.