Man City outcasts up for sale despite Pep platitudes

The City boss is keen to praise the efforts of the men he has left out of his two matchday squads but behind the scenes he is keen to get them off the books


Pep Guardiola clearly does not want to give the impression he is speaking for a divided house. After leaving Yaya Toure, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Jason Denayer out of his first competitive Manchester City squad at the weekend, the Catalan insisted that there are no issues and all are available for future selection.

Guardiola says he is learning all the time, and he has clearly adopted a difference approach in the eight years since he put Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto’o up for sale in his very first Barcelona press conference – sending their transfer value through the floor in the process.

The intention, however, is that those five City players will leave the club in the coming weeks.

Guardiola has praised their professionalism in training – despite Toure and Nasri among those to have been told to lose weight – and explained that he merely had to cut a squad of 28 down to 18.

But he has given the game away.

“Today I needed a team more intensive, more aggressive without the ball, because we have to create a team spirit,” he said after the Sunderland game.

Guardiola is forging that team spirit without players that are not intensive or aggressive. It is hard to imagine this most demanding of managers turning to those men in the future if they cannot play with the “soul” that is required of this City team.

Besides, when he cast off Ronaldinho, he said: “the solution is to build a strong dressing room.”

The travelling squad for Tuesday’s Champions League play-off against Steaua Bucharest was also telling.

None of those left out on Saturday made the trip to Romania. Nasri, Bony and Mangala are no shocks – they not in the Uefa squad in the first place. Toure and Denayer, however, are eligible.

Guardiola praised Toure on Saturday, saying: “I know Yaya from Barcelona, how he loves to play football, I know perfectly his quality, he knows the reason why today he was not in the list, because I talk sometimes with the players to explain the reasons why.” He said similar on Monday.

But his time is up, as long as City can find a buyer. Publicly, Guardiola is playing the diplomat, but privately he has decided Toure is not part of his plans. The Ivorian, it is understood, is happy to stay at the Etihad, but would leave if City pay up the remaining year of his contract or a new club can match his £220,000-per-week deal.

It is a tricky situation. No wonder Guardiola does not want to commit in public.

The Blues are still said to be interested in bringing a striker to the club before the end of the transfer window, and they had enquired about Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the summer.

The Gabon international’s asking price is around £65 million, and whether City go back to Dortmund or not they will want to raise money for a new face by selling off the big earners that have no place in Pep’s plans.

Despite the manager’s claims, he sees no place for Nasri, Bony or Mangala.

The problem, however, is their wage packets. Even on the heavily incentivised contracts that City have signed their players up to, the figures will be tough for any suitors to match.

Toure is on £220,000 per week, Nasri is on £120,000, Bony and Mangala on £100,000 each.

GOALREAD MORE  | Pep right to swap Hart for Bravo

City would save over £28m annually on wages alone if they can get all four men off the books. Toure, the biggest earner, only has one year left on his deal, but the other three are signed up until 2019.

Any fees on top of that would enable a final foray into the transfer market. The club valued Bony at £13m when offering him to Everton as part of the Stones deal, and are rumoured to want £17m for Nasri.

It is thought the club would prefer any loan deals for these players – most likely for Mangala, with AC Milan and Valencia interested – to include a mandatory clause that makes the move permanent next summer.
City have spent around £160m on transfers so far including deals for Marlos Moreno, Geronimo Rulli and Gabriel Jesus, who will not yet move to the Etihad. Given the investment from the Chinese consortium, as well as City’s rising revenues and the mammoth TV rights deal, it is a sum that City can afford.

But offloading their unwanted big earners would be a very welcome bonus. With transfer fees and wages meaning City are in a weak negotiating position, it is no wonder Guardiola wants to put up a united front in public.

His old friend Txiki Begiristain will have his work cut out in the coming weeks, but there should be no doubt that City are not done yet in the transfer window yet.

Guardiola: Toure has been 'amazing' in training

The coach explained his decision to leave the Ivorian out of Manchester City’s Champions League match against Steaua Bucharest amid speculation he could be sold

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola says he did not want Yaya Toure to have a wasted trip to Romania after leaving him out of the squad to face Steaua Bucharest.

Toure is among a number of big names staying in England for the first leg of the Champions league play-off tie, with Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Jason Denayer also left out of the travelling party.

The Ivorian’s absence, having already missed the first Premier League game of the season, has heightened speculation he could leave the club but Guardiola says he has been impressed by the way he has trained.

“He is training amazing but I was not sure he was going to play so I would prefer him to stay in Manchester,” said the manager, who also worked with Toure at Barcelona.

GOALREAD MORE Why Pep is right to ditch Hart

Guardiola was also reluctant to offer any hints on the future of Joe Hart, who did not feature against Sunderland amid links to Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Guardiola added: “Since I have been Manchester City manager and we have been together, Joe has been perfect. He is a great professional on and off the pitch.

“It is not the moment to talk about players who are not in Manchester City and in another club. I won’t talk about transfers before such an important match in our season.”

Yaya Toure's Man City future in doubt after missing Romania trip

The Ivorian was listed in the Blues’ Champions League squad but he has been left in Manchester and is not thought to be injured

Yaya Toure has been left out of the Manchester City squad that has travelled to Romania ahead of their Champions League play-off against Steaua Bucharest.

Toure was named in the City squad that was submitted to Uefa last Tuesday, one which accidentally revealed John Stones’ arrival at the Etihad Stadium.

But the Ivorian is not part of the 21-man party that arrived in Bucharest on Sunday, casting his future at the club into further doubt.

GOALREAD MORE  | COMMENT: Why Guardiola is right to ditch Joe Hart

Pep Guardiola also left Toure out of his squad for the Premier League opener against Sunderland on Saturday, but insisted afterwards that he, and other notable absentees, may still have a future at the club.

“I know Yaya from Barcelona, how he loves to play football, I know perfectly his quality, he knows the reason why today he was not in the list, because I talk sometimes with the players to explain the reasons why.”

But it appears that Toure, who is not injured, is in a similar position to Joe Hart.

Guardiola has suggested on several occasions that the England goalkeeper, benched against Sunderland, could work his way back into his plans, but Goal understands City’s pursuit of Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo spells the end for his time at the Etihad Stadium.

Toure has been linked with a move away from City on several occasions in recent years, with his agent, Dimitry Seluk, keen to drum up interest from European clubs.

Seluk has already criticised Guardiola and director of football Txiki Begiristain, and claimed earlier this summer that Toure would even buy himself out of his contract.

A move to Inter had been touted but never materialised, and the recent sacking of Roberto Mancini means the deal is dead.

There could be something of an exodus at City in the coming weeks, with Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony, Jason Denayer and Eliaquim Mangala all omitted from the European list as well as Guardiola’s squad at the weekend.

“Until August 31, if we are abe to reach the next step, the [Champions League] list is going to change and after August 31 we are going to see which players stay and leave. Of course, we have 28, 29 players – we have to reduce our squad.”

New signing Leroy Sane also did not travel thanks to a muscle injury, although Nicolas Otamendi is fit enough having missed the 2-1 victory against Sunderland.

Squad in full: Hart, Caballero, Gunn, Sagna, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Adarabioyo, Kolarov, Clichy, Angelino, Fernando, Fernandinho, Delph, Nolito, Silva, Navas, De Bruyne, Sterling, Iheanacho, Aguero.

Toure and Nasri have Manchester City future, says Guardiola

The Catalan says the two outcasts could have a Manchester City future despite them missing the clash with Sunderland, while stating he was satisfied with the win

Pep Guardiola says Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri still have a future at Manchester City, despite the duo sitting out Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sunderland.

The midfield duo were left out of Guardiola’s squad for his first Premier League match, along with striker Wilfried Bony and centre-back Eliaquim Mangala.

The future of all four players has been the subject of recent speculation, with 33-year-old Toure heavily linked with a move to Inter for much of the transfer window, while Nasri was criticised for his fitness upon returning to pre-season training.

But Guardiola is happy with the attitude of the players and says their future inclusion in the side is not out of the question, although he would not guarantee a return for anyone.

“I don’t have any complaints about these names,” he told reporters after the match. “Yaya trained really well. Sammy [Nasri] arrived a little bit. 

“But in the last week, two weeks, he has been training amazingly. So I am really impressed with the quality of Sammy.

“Mangala, you know better than me how professional he is. But in the end I have a squad and I decide, I have to create a team spirit. It’s not about tactics, it’s not about anything.

GOALREAD MORE Pep keen to avoid Hart questions but hints at return for ousted goalkeeper

“And just because I decided on this line-up today, that does not mean in the future they are not going to play or they are going to play.

“At Barcelona and Bayern Munich I wanted to change the line-up because I always wanted to involve, I want to create something where everyone is involved. Today I chose this line-up but that doesn’t mean they won’t play in the future.”

Guardiola, who handed Willy Caballero a starting spot in goal ahead of Joe Hart, said the Argentine earned his place with his pre-season form but would not give any assurances over the position.

City looked likely to be held to a 1-1 draw by Sunderland after Jermain Defoe equalised in the second half following Sergio Aguero’s early penalty, but the home side snatched victory when Paddy McNair turned into his own net with three minutes to play.

But, with champions Leicester City losing to Hull City and Tottenham being held by Everton, Guardiola was happy enough to take an unconvincing win.

“For the first game at home it was going to be a question about the Premier League – you saw the results of the other games,” he added.

“I’m very pleased about the performance we achieved. Maybe we should attack quicker but that is normal. We have to learn. I saw many good things about the spirit of the team.

“We didn’t create many chances but we only conceded two – the goal and Defoe in the first half, when Willy made a good save.

“But I am so pleased. We have to build something from that.”

'No chance!' – Inter concede defeat in Yaya Toure race

The 51-year-old coach has made it clear the Serie A side will not sign the Manchester City star, after suggesting he is one of the best in the game

Inter coach Roberto Mancini has conceded the Serie A giants are unlikely to sign Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure this transfer window.

The Inter boss previously worked with Toure during his time in charge of City and was keen to lure him to San Siro ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.

However, Mancini has now admitted there is little chance the 33-year-old will continue his career at Inter.

“I say that he remains one of the greatest midfielders around in the game,” Mancini told Sky Sports when asked about a potential move for Toure.

GOALREAD MORE  | OFFICIAL: Juan Jesus leaves Inter for Roma

“But I think there is no chance he will be joining Inter. We have no regrets, though.”

Toure has a contract with his current club until the end of the 2016-17 campaign, but his future at City is in doubt following the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager.

Guardiola deemed Toure surplus to requirements at Barcelona in 2010, offloading him to City.