Exclusive: Yaya Toure, out of contract at Manchester City this summer, ‘wants to stay in England’

Yaya Toure talks exclusively to Richard Jolly about his future and his determination to remain in English football even if Manchester City do not renew his contract at the end of the season.

Yaya Toure, centre, in action for Manchester City against Liverpool in the 1-1 Premier League draw on Sunday. Andrew Yates / Reuters

Yaya Toure could be in line for a move to one of Manchester City’s domestic rivals after voicing his determination to stay in the Premier League next season.

The midfielder, who is out of contract in the summer, is adamant his first choice is to extend his seven-season City career.

But City are postponing a decision on the six players who will be free to leave at the end of the campaign — Willy Caballero, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas and Toure — and the Ivorian’s agent Dimitri Seluk claimed last week that he had started negotiating with other clubs.

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But while Seluk said there was interest in his client from both Serie A and the Primera Liga, the former Barcelona midfielder revealed the pace of the Premier League has more appeal to him.

Toure, who rejected a lucrative move to China in January, savoured City's frenetic 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday and told The National: "That is why I want to stay in England. Otherwise I go to China or wherever, because it is that type of game I want to play in.

“If I want to play slow, I will go maybe to Bahrain or France, to Spain or Germany where it is going to be slowed down. In England, it is fantastic. My preference is City.”

Depending on whether City progress to the FA Cup final, Toure could have a maximum of 12 opportunities to add to his 290 games and 81 goals for the club, but his renaissance has illustrated his desire to stay after he spent almost three months out of the side following critical comments by Seluk about manager Pep Guardiola.

He has made 21 appearances and re-established himself as a pivotal member of the City side since returning to the fold in November.

And while he turns 34 in May, he insisted he remains as motivated as ever.

“I play all the games like I can play. I love football and I think it has always been like that,” he said.

He said his determination has impressed two of his younger teammates. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane, who are both more a decade his junior, have started to call him “Uncle Yaya.”

“They say, ‘It is unbelievable at the age you are that you continue to fight’ but I say, ‘When you love your job you give 100 per cent,’” Toure said.

He is notably slimmer than last year and said he can keep up with City’s flying wingers in training.

“When we have to run, I am always ahead of Sane and Raheem and sometimes I joke with them that they have to follow me but it is always nice,” he said.

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