I think there is a real argument to be made to say Yaya Toure is the most complete midfielder in the world, and has been for the past 3 seasons. He has won everything there is to win in the club game. He has created history with the finest club side ever, while guiding Manchester City to glory winning the Premier League in May 2012. If I could sign one player for my beloved Liverpool that isn’t Messi or Ronaldo, I think I may have to just choose Yaya Toure – and here’s why.
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was recently been named the African Player of the Year for a second time, not that it should be a surprise to any who have followed Toure dominate every midfield he faced in the Premier League last season. Toure beat fellow Ivory Coast star and former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba into second place with former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song third, while ex-Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o holds the most titles, having won four times.
Toure’s career really began when he moved to FC Barcelona from AS Monaco in 2007. Signed by Frank Rijkaard, Toure was a relative mainstay in the side throughout his 3 seasons playing at the Catalan club, averaging 39 appearances each season. Tactically he was seen as a defensive midfielder, using his more than competent passing ability to compliment his strength and reading of the game to become a truly unsung hero in the side. Although his defensive role meant he only scored 4 goals during his time at Barcelona, his trophy haul more than makes up for his lack of goals. During his time at Barcelona he won a plethora of trophies, amassing 2 La Liga Titles, 1 Copa Del Rey, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup and a Fifa World Club Cup.
Following Pep Guardiola’s arrival and subsequent promotion of Sergio Busquets he was forced to really fight for his place, where he even featured at centre back several times, including the 2009 Champions League Final. In the Summer of 2010 Manchester City became interested in the Ivorian and considering the growth of Busquets Toure and Barcelona decided to part ways, leaving for Manchester for just under €30 million, while he would be made the highest paid player on Premier League history earning a reported £221,000 per week.
What happened next would see Toure go down as a demi-god in the North West of England for thousands of success-starved Man City fans. It’s no understatement to say he went on to play a huge role in creating history in Manchester, and most likely will continue to do so.
Playing amongst some of the world’s best players in David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, Toure comes out on top in the most influential player for me every time. While Toure played pro-dominantly as a defensive midfielder for Barcelona, he was really let off his leash in Manchester (putting it very lightly). In his first season he played as either a box-to-box midfielder playing alongside with Gareth Barry or De Jong, using his insatiable pace and power to great chances through his runs, or either or an unorthodox footballer, playing right behind Carlos Tevez.
Toure’s new attacking role helped him announce the new era for Manchester City had really begun. Throughout his first season in Manchester he scored 10 goals, including a winning goal in Wembley against Stoke City to secure the FA Cup for Manchester City – there first trophy in 35 years.
The following season (2011-2012) Toure got even better. Although Mancini was more inclined to play a 4-2-2-2 this season, Toure still dominated in the midfield, relishing the extra workload. Last season there were very few midfielders who ever got the better of Toure in the premier league. His runs from deep continued, scoring 9 goals throughout the season. As City closed the gap they had let grow with them and Manchester United in the second half of the season he played a huge part in closing the gap, forcing the win in many vital games, though his role in the last game of the season, albeit a bit-part role, may be one of his favourites at Manchester City. When City met QPR on the last day of the season City just needed a win, which would all but secure the title on goal difference.
In such a precarious position, and with the weight of 40 years of hurt and pain for Manchester City the win was never going to be straightforward. In the 39th minute Toure assisted Zabaleta to score. While this was not the winning goal in the famous 3-2 win over QPR it still played a part in the most memorable finish to an English league finish since Michael Thomas broke Scouse hearts in 1989. Throughout the season Toure was quite frankly unplayable. There is no doubt in my mind he was the most influential player in securing Manchester City’s first English Title in 44 years.
Physically Toure has everything needed to become the very best in the world, it’s just a shame for him that those two little Spanish Blokes in Xavi & Iniesta are around making a case to be some of the best ever. Standing at 6.3 Toure’s pace never hinders his neat footwork on the ball, while his power and pace truly make him stand out in the Premier League.
Toure’s one of the few footballers who can make the neutral laugh in delight time and time again playing the game with a ferocious beauty. His style which mixes grace and raw power is a delight to watch. Although Toure may not possess those final attributes that possess one of the best (Toure) to the current best (Xavi), and the current best to the best ever (Zidane) it certainly has been a pleasure watching him reinvent himself as he pleased at Manchester City. Yaya Toure was, quite simply, built to dominate the Premier League.