Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure signed a new one year contract with Manchester City on Thursday, a reward for sterling performances after returning to favour mid-November.
The 34-year-old midfielder – a four-time African Footballer of the Year – had fallen out with City manager Pep Guardiola but regained his trust and has been retained unlike several other players who like him were out of contract and been allowed to leave.
“I’m delighted,” Toure told the club website.
“I told myself the journey at City is not done and when I received a call from Txiki (Begiristain the football director) and talked to the manager I was very delighted.
“When I was first coming here (in 2010) I was trying to be part of a new story, of something special at this club.
“I am very lucky now to be part of a great club with great players around me who are helping me to achieve my targets.”
Toure, who skippered Ivory Coast to their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations triumph over Ghana ending a 23 year drought, added the desire to win more silverware remained as keen as ever.
In his seven years at the club Toure has been part of two Premier League winning sides – scoring 24 goals in the 2013/14 campaign.
He has also played a significant role in their Cup successes, scoring in the 2011 FA Cup win over Stoke and the 2014 League Cup victory over Sunderland as well as a penalty in the shootout win over Liverpool in the 2016 final.
“Of course I want to win trophies, that is very important to me,” said Toure, who has scored 81 goals in 299 league appearances for the club.
“I want to enjoy it at this age still and remaining here is a massive, massive thing.
“It is a great club, going in the right direction with new players who are coming in. Our mentality is always to win week in, week out and I’m delighted with the fans as well.”
Begiristain for his part said despite Toure’s age the former Barcelona star remained firmly part of Guardiola’s plans.
“Yaya has been a fantastic servant for Manchester City and continues to be a vital member of Pep Guardiola’s squad,” said Begiristain.
“He is one of our most experienced and popular players and we couldn’t be happier that he is staying with us as we embark on what we all hope will be a very exciting season.
“Yaya has been central to the successes we’ve had over the past seven years and he has a vital part to play next season.”
Antoine Griezmann’s future is once again a hot topic after Atletico Madrid failed in their bid to overturn a transfer ban.
Atletico will now not be able to register any new players until January 2018 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld their appeal against a FIFA ban for signing underage players from abroad.
France forward Griezmann has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United but the 26-year-old has been giving out mixed messages about his future in recent weeks.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the arguments why Griezmann might be tempted to stay with the Rojiblancos, or leave.
STAY – ARGUMENTS HE SHOULD REMAIN AN ATLETI PLAYER
MANCHESTER UNITED LOSING INTEREST
United have long appeared the front-runners to sign Griezmann but Press Association Sport understands interest in the player has cooled, with the priority now signing an out-and-out striker as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is injured. Other clubs have been linked but Griezmann – whose idol was former United star David Beckham – may decide Old Trafford was the only place he wanted to go.
BUMPER NEW CONTRACT
With the likelihood of Atletico now splashing the cash on new faces this summer gone, they could use the money to reward Griezmann with a new big-money deal.
NEW GROUND NEW ERA
Atletico swap the venerable Vicente Calderon – their city-centre home for over half a century – for the brand new Wanda Metropolitano stadium out by Barajas airport this summer. It is an historic moment for the club and its fans, and talisman Griezmann may want a starring role.
Griezmann is likely to be a hit wherever he plies his trade next season, but he has the chance to achieve something special at Atletico in the coming years. The former Real Sociedad forward has been top scorer in each of his three seasons with Atletico and, should he remain, could write his name into the record books and folklore. By leaving, he might simply be regarded – by history and supporters – as just another striker who was sold at the peak of their powers, following in the footsteps of players like Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao.
GO – FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IF HE DECIDES TO LEAVE
Griezmann recently declared his desire to win titles and it could be that leaving Atletico is the best way to achieve that. The Rojiblancos have performed superbly under coach Diego Simeone but Griezmann has still only won one piece of silverware in his three years at the club – the 2014 Spanish Supercup. With Atletico unable to strengthen their ranks this summer it seems unlikely trophies will start flooding in next year either.
Antoine Griezmann has scored 10 LaLiga goals from outside the box since the start of last season; only Lionel Messi has more (15).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 31, 2017
With that in mind, United could offer the medal return Griezmann is looking for – at least in comparison to Atletico. The Red Devils won three trophies in the season just gone, Mourinho’s first at the club, and secured a return to the Champions League in the process. With the Premier League superpowers set to splash the cash again it could be that next season will bring more bounty to Old Trafford, and Griezmann may want his part of it.
While his bank balance is unlikely to feature too highly when considering his future, Griezmann would almost certainly command a higher wage and sizeable signing-on fee if he were to swap Atletico for a club such as United this summer.
ATLETICO CASHING IN
The Rojiblancos have rebuilt and moved forward after selling star players in the past and, while they have gone toe-to-toe with Real Madrid and Barcelona on the field in recent years, they cannot compete with the financial muscle of the two Spanish heavyweights. It could be, therefore, that despite not being able to replace Griezmann this summer, the Rojiblancos could decide to allow him to leave and accept a fee in the region of £87million before reinvesting in January.
Source: Press Association
Ederson’s move to Manchester City inched closer on Thursday with Benfica announcing they had “reached an agreement” over a £35million deal.
The 23-year-old, who has yet to win a senior cap for Brazil, reportedly underwent a medical with City on Tuesday and would immediately become the game’s most expensive goalkeeper, edging Gianluigi Buffon’s switch to Juventus on current exchange rates.
Benfica posted a picture of the keeper accompanied by the words “thank you @edersonmoraes93” on their Twitter account and said in a statement to the stock exchange “it has reached an agreement with Manchester City Football Club Limited for the definitive transfer of the rights of the athlete Ederson Santana de Moraes for the amount of forty million euros “.
But City do not expect to be in a position to rubber-stamp the deal imminently.
Ederson’s deal with Benfica involves third-party ownership of his economic rights, with previous club Rio Ave thought to hold a 50 per cent stake, and that must be resolved before he formally joins City.
Football Association rules do not allow for any third party involvement, meaning Benfica must take care of business independently before tying up loose ends with City.
City had a similar experience with Gabriel Jesus’ transfer last season and are prepared to wait for a matter of days, if not weeks, for the correct paperwork to be finalised.
Ederson’s expected arrival at the Etihad Stadium essentially confirms England number one Joe Hart has no chance of a reprieve after his season-long loan at Torino, while his original replacement, Claudio Bravo, has failed to live up to expectations.