Premier League: Are we forgetting just how good Yaya Toure was for Man City?

Is Yaya Toure's legacy in the Premier League in danger of being forgotten?
04 May 2018

With the Premier League clock running down, Arsene Wenger and Michael Carrick have been afforded warm tributes in recent weeks. Andres Iniesta's departure from Barcelona is being accompanied by tearful teammates at a news conference this week, but what for Yaya Toure.

 

As we come to the end of the 2017/18 season, it is suggested that Yaya Toure will quietly be departing the newly crowned champions Man City. Surely Toure's contribution at City deserves greater acclaim.

He would almost certainly have walked away with the Footballer of the Year trophy in 2014 and beaten Salah by four years to the distinction of being the first African winner.

The Ivory Coast midfielder scored an incredible 20 goals in 35 Premier League appearances that season as City mounted a late surge to the title to deny Suarez and Liverpool in the final straight, but after his own impressive campaign, the individual award went to the Uruguay forward.

Didier Drogba and Riyad Mahrez have both gone close to winning the award, while Nwankwo Kanu and Michael Essien also advanced the cause of African players in England with their performances for Arsenal and Chelsea respectively.

But Toure is perhaps a unique case when it comes to his status in the game because, as his time at City draws to a close, his contribution during the past decade continues to be largely overlooked beyond the blue half of Manchester.

There would be a strong case to suggest that not only has Toure been the best African player to play in the Premier League, but he has arguably been the most influential of any player in English football in recent years too.

He was the first big signing at City back in 2010, the one whose arrival from Barcelona persuaded the likes of David Silva and then Sergio Aguero to follow.

He was a crucial figure in all of City's successes, prior to this season, with his winning goals in the 2011 FA Cup -- in both the semifinal against Manchester United and final against Stoke City -- and a pivotal strike at Newcastle in the 2011-12 title run-in some of the most important moments in the club's history.

Off-field issues have not helped Toure secure the legacy he deserves. The ridiculous fuss over City's apparent failure to celebrate his birthday properly in 2014, which led to him eventually being given a birthday cake, turned Toure into a figure of fun and unfairly shifted the focus away from his playing ability.

The cake saga continues to hang over him, but that confected row should not be allowed to deny Toure his place alongside Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard as the most dominant midfielders of the past 20 years, both in terms of impact and longevity.

At his best, Toure was unstoppable -- a buccaneering powerhouse who could destroy and create, score goals, and take charge of game through his sheer physical presence.

There is a debate among City as to the best player in the club's history -- Silva tends to win that one, but Toure is up there with the Spain playmaker.

As it stands, though, the 34-year-old enters the final week of his final year as a City player having made just nine Premier League starts this season.

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