Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola ducked questions about whether the club will offer midfield linchpin Yaya Toure a new contract at the end of the season, despite describing the Ivoirian as an exceptional player.
The 33-year-old, whose current contract expires at the end of the season, has had a rollercoaster year with Guardiola since the later arrived in the summer, and both are hardly seen as close.
Largely considered City’s most influential player since he was sold to the club in 2010 by Guardiola – while both were at Barcelona, Yaya was not only shunned by the Spaniard at the start of the season, but was shockingly excluded from the UEFA Champions League squad.
The four-time African Player of the Year was then banned from the first team when his agent Dmitri Seluk questioned what he saw as Guardiola’s humiliation of his player and club legend.
Yaya has since been reinstated in the side and has posted some powerful performances. He was especially good on Sunday when City came from a goal down to beat title rivals Arsenal 1:2 in the league, prompting questions about whether he will be offered a new deal.
I have no answer to that question, Guardiola replied.
I know he finishes his contract. Now we have time to discuss that.
What I am impressed by most is his huge quality. He looks like a boy. He played awesome. It is not in terms of when he has the ball but the personality.
Yaya plays at that level because he is fit and focused. He is an exceptional player.