Sunday, July 7, 2013

Is Toure deal very astute?

If you've got a sibling or two or more, you'll know all about competitive spirit.
That desire to prove yourself which is there from childhood never really goes away, and it can take you pretty far in whatever you want to do in life.
Take the Toures. Older brother Kolo, middle child Yaya and their younger brother Ibrahim, another professional footballer who had spells as a forward in the Ukraine and France and was most recently seen playing in Libya.
Ibrahim's older siblings are more familiar to the football watching world, of course, and he'll have long since conceded that it is they who have won the competitive battle for success on the pitch.
Yaya Toure has just completed another impressive season at Manchester City, with whom he's won an FA Cup and Premier League title since his 2010 move from Barcelona, where he won almost everything there was to win including the Champions League in 2009.
His trademark powerful midfield displays have been part of Premier League life for the past three years, whilst his older brother has been omnipresent in this country for the last 11.
In what must be regarded as one of the best buys of Arsene Wenger's time at Arsenal, Kolo Toure arrived in North London from the Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas for just £150,000 in 2002, shortly before he turned 21.
He'd go on to have seven hugely impressive and largely successful years with the Gunners, before his move to Manchester City in 2009 yielded even more trophies.
Two Premier League titles and three FA Cups over his time at both clubs makes for a pretty impressive trophy cabinet, and a player who it would be impossible to ignore were he available on a free transfer. Brendan Rodgers obviously agreed.
The announcement that Liverpool have agreed a deal in principle to sign the elder Toure when his Manchester City contract expires on July 1 means that the Reds have added some valuable experience to the side just when some had walked out of the Shankly Gates as a player for the final time.
Jamie Carragher's retirement might leave a hole in the squad that only his personality and character could fill, but on the pitch the addition of Toure brings with it a competitive spirit, a winning habit and crucially a desire to still succeed at the highest level; a level which he has been accustomed to for over a decade.
You don't get to captain teams as good as Arsenal, Manchester City and the Ivory Coast without being a special player and person, and as Steven Gerrard would testify you don't get to over 100 international caps without putting in a lot of hard work either.
Toure isn't afraid of a challenge, either on the pitch or competing with his brothers off it, and that outlook, that desire and that will-to-win make him a valuable squad addition well before next season gets underway. All for free too.
Clearly a popular player at his previous club - as a goodbye tweet from Manchester City's official Twitter account shows - Toure will add to the likes of Gerrard and more and provide yet another leader in a squad quickly finding its voice despite the amount of young players within it.
The accent might be slightly different from Carragher's, but his vocal skills and defensive organisation are sure to prove vital over the new campaign and perhaps in seasons to come.
What started out as merely a tough, surely no-holds-barred competition with his brothers has taken Toure a long way in the game, and he's still got plenty more to give in the future.
Liverpool will be the beneficiaries of that future now.

Author: Mark Jones



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