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Thanks Yaya, You've Been Great, But Now It's Really Time to Go

20/05/2016 16:36 | Updated 20 May 2016

We've known it officially since February. Though any informed football fan with an opinion on Manchester City's managerial situation could have seen it coming long before.

Manuel Pellegrini's time as Manchester City manager was to come to an end this month. Even when the Chilean penned a contract extension through until 2017 last August, it was widely touted as a ploy to distract from the inevitable. This man, as respectful and dignified as he has been, was not the one to take this club forward in the long-term. City knew that, and we did too.

Pellegrini did at least manage to walk away from the job with his head held high, after guiding the team to the brink of the Champions League with a draw at Swansea City on Sunday. The man to attempt to pick up the slack - and to make this team the juggernaut it really should be - is waiting in the wings. You're up, Pep.

62-year-old Pellegrini admitted the club's announcement of Pep Guardiola as his successor in mid-season took a toll on the team's performance. Though still, while City disappointed, the former Real Madrid boss didn't quiver, complain or lose his cool. His conduct and success in Manchester means he'll have no problem walking into another job elsewhere.

But there's another man who also said his (non-confirmed, but likely) goodbyes at the Liberty Stadium. There may have been a slew of others too - that's dependent on how much Pep wields the axe this summer - but it's safe to say Yaya Toure will be one of the first names on his new boss' chopping block, come what may.

Pellegrini's exit, by the time it came, was muted. And by surprising and completely out of character similarity, Toure came and went from Sunday's encounter without so much as a peep.

He was brought in as an injury time substitute and failed to touch the ball before the whistle was blown. We're all used to his laboured efforts and failure to backtrack when he doesn't feel like it in the centre of the park, but both on and off the pitch over the last six years, the Ivorian has been associated with controversy and brilliance in equal measure.

Toure was instrumental to each of City's Premier League title wins in 2012 and 2014. He bagged 20 league goals in the latter, and proved that when at his impervious best, he was nigh-on impossible to stop.

His goals in cup finals and semi-finals have proven critical to City breaking barriers. It was Toure who secured the vital first trophy of the Mansour regime with the solitary goal against Stoke City in the 2011 FA Cup final. It was Toure who dug them out of a hole against Sunderland in the League Cup final three years later.

He's popped up with countless other vital goals at vital times, and there can no argument to suggest against the fact he'll go down as one of the greatest midfielders we've seen in the Premier League. That's in spite of his flaws.

Yes, his work rate leaves a lot to be desired, but Pellegrini in particular should take fault for selecting his man in positions where his shortcomings could be exposed. Some things never change, and Pellegrini realised too late that Toure in a midfield two was a recipe for disaster. In the end, the drawbacks outweighed the positives.

Today's Yaya Toure is a passenger. A player that causes more harm than good, and a man with one of your more irritating, vocal representatives. You do often wonder how much more likeable he'd be were Dimtri Seluk not by his side spouting nonsense every other week.
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We all know of the birthday cake incident. It'll follow Toure wherever he goes. But for years now, Seluk's been telling us that Toure's departure from Manchester is imminent. We've heard it all before - he was "90% certain" to depart a year ago - but Seluk's revelation that Toure will decide which club he joins next in the coming days actually rings true this time.

There doesn't appear to be any chance of recovering a working relationship between Guardiola and Toure looking at comments published in the past, but disregarding the bad taste, Pep will certainly not carry any passengers when he arrives in Manchester.

Toure's time is up. Everybody recognises that now. And while we should look back fondly on his time in England, his time to move on has been long overdue.

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