VENTURES AFRICA – It is no longer news that African Player of the Year, Yaya Toure is at loggerheads with the management of cash-rich Manchester City in the English Premier League. Through his agent, the Ivorian midfield powerhouse declared an ultimatum for the Qatari-owned side to offer a new deal or risk him walking out of the club in the summer.
Immediately Toure’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, had made the statement of intent, many wheels started turning. In the European football circle, the easiest deals are for players who are publicly at odds with their football teams as their original valuation drops so deep that the current club will be forced to sell him at a lower price. But with the financial crunch in Europe, only a handful of clubs can afford Toure’s wage bill.
What then are Toure’s options?
In Spain, only Barcelona and Real Madrid can afford Toure but having already played at Barcelona , it will be considered improbable that he will transfer to Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid. A return to Barcelona is also unlikely seeing as they have a wealth of midfield options. In Italy, his options are similarly few. Resurgent Juventus are the only suitors that may be able to comfortably afford Toure but the question of Juventus needing Toure is another matter entirely. They have a wealth of options in the midfield area – Andrea Pirlo, Marchisio, Vidal – and with Paul Pogba coming to fore, it is unlikely that they will break the bank for Toure. Milan giants, Inter and AC Milan, have shown financial prudence in recent years by selling off their best players to reduce the wage bill hence it is unlikely they will reverse the process they have set in motion.
In Germany, only Bavarian giants Bayern Munich can afford Yaya and with Pep Guardiola set to take over, a transfer may well be on the cards. Parisian club PSG could also be a destination as they go about building a dream team. PSG can afford Yaya by all standards but France’s tax rates of 75 percent on high earning residents is a factor that will need to be manoeuvred Away from mainstream Europe, Yaya’s destination could be Russia where wages normally classified as insane are the norm. Another attraction to Russia for Toure will be a tax rate as low 13 percent and the influx of some of the finest players in the world.
The other option for Yaya is simply to stay put at City and sign a new deal but despite their endless financial pockets, Manchester City are looking to stabilize the club and start making profits. Paying astronomical wages will also put them out of line and in trouble with UEFA when the Financial Fair Play rules kick into effect. At City, Yaya earns a basic weekly wage of £170,000 ($257, 149) and could be demanding an increase that will take him into the £300,000 ($454, 000) weekly wage bracket (inclusive of bonuses). Agreeing to Yaya’s demands will put City in a risky position because theirs is a football club with multiple stars all in the 180-200 weekly wage bracket.
A final option for Yaya will be to buy out his contract. Under FIFA ruling, players above 28 who are two years into a contract can buy out the remainder of that contract with two years to go based on a compensation determined by weekly wage and the initial transfer fee. If he does but out his contract, the Ivory Coast star will become a free agent and will negotiate directly with potential suitors.
Africa’s best footballer could be on the move this summer, a lot of clubs will love to have but only a few will be able to afford him. The two time Africa Footballer of the Year is reportedly on an estimated £170, 000 ($257, 149) a week salary. And his weekly wage can rise to £220, 000 when bonuses are added. Toure,, who was listed as one of the richest footballers in the world, also enjoys image rights with his Manchester City club worth about £1.5 million ($2.2 million) and also another £800, 000 ($1.2 million) bonus for UEFA Champions League qualification.