Manchester City set to offer Yaya Touré new deal to extend Etihad stay

• 34-year-old Ivorian would feature in eighth season at City if he accepts deal
• Outgoing defender Zabaleta to be honoured following West Bromwich match

Yaya Touré is likely to be offered a new contract by Manchester City, though the club is unsure if he will accept. The midfielder, who turned 34 on Saturday, is currently employed on terms that expire in the close season. Yet after fighting his way back into Pep Guardiola’s first-team plans it is understood the manager and Txiki Begiristain, City’s sporting director, think Touré should be given the chance to extend his stay.

If the Ivorian accepts he will play into an eighth year at City, having joined from Barcelona for £24m in 2010. Earlier in the season Guardiola excluded Touré due to comments made by his agent, Dimitri Seluk, about the Catalan manager. However, he was reinstated after Touré apologised in November; since then he has made 28 appearances and scored six times.

Touré started in the 2-1 win against Leicester City which briefly took City up to third place, although they remain three points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal in the race for a Champions League berth with two games apiece remaining.

If Touré was to refuse any offer, City would ensure he was given a proper send-off at some stage in recognition of the integral role he has played in the success of the Sheikh Mansour era. Touré was a driving force in City’s two Premier League titles, scored the winning goals in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final, and has also helped win two League Cups.

Because City are minded to keep Touré nothing will be done to honour him at final home game against West Bromwich Albion. Instead the club will pay tribute to Pablo Zabaleta, who announced on Saturday night his intention to depart the Etihad. The 32-year-old defender is the third longest-serving player behind Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart, having joined in summer 2008.

Zabaleta said: “When I first came to Manchester I felt like when I was in Barcelona at Espanyol [previous club]. We were not the main club in the city. We can’t say the same thing now. I remember at that time [Sir Alex] Ferguson and the ‘noisy neighbours’ and this is something that I have been since that time.

“For me, we couldn’t let people say something like that about us. I thought if they call us the noisy neighbours then let’s make more noise in the city, let’s prove that we are a club that is looking to achieve important things, maybe one day be the main club in the city and take this club forward to the next step to make this club better.”

Those also out of contract in July are Tosin Adarabioyo, Gaël Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Willy Caballero and Jesús Navas. The club has not yet informed any of them who will be offered fresh terms, with Guardiola and Begiristain yet to make a final decision regarding at least two – possibly Navas and Adarabioyo.


Jamie Jackson

The GuardianTramp

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