Yaya Toure set to lead summer exodus at Manchester City as up to 11 senior stars under threat after Champions League exit
By Manchester correspondent Alex Stevens
Up to 11 Manchester City first-team players could leave this summer as the club prepare to swing the axe at the end of a disastrous campaign.
Sources have told Football Insider that Yaya Toure is expected to lead an exodus from Etihad Stadium, with Vincent Kompany, Edin Dzeko, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Aleksandar Kolarov, Stevan Jovetic and Bacary Sagna also under threat after Wednesday’s Champions League exit.
With James Milner out of contract in the summer and Frank Lampard joining MLS team New York City, there could be the most radical overhaul of the City squad since the Abu Dhabi owners bought the club in 2008.
Director of football Txiki Begeristain, whose own position is being publicly questioned, will be authorised to overhaul an ageing squad that will finish the campaign without a trophy and could even face an unexpected fight to clinch a top-four spot.
City will listen to offers for a number of leading players, some of whom have struggled this season after playing key roles under Manuel Pellegrini in winning the Premier League and Capital One Cup last season.
Toure, who turns 32 in May, has found himself under the microscope following a campaign in which he has fallen below the standards he set in his first four years at the club. With two years remaining on his contract and City in no hurry to offer him an extension, he could leave at a time when he can still command a significant transfer fee.
Inter manager Roberto Mancini, the former City boss, has made no attempt to hide his desire to be reunited with Toure, and the Serie A club’s sporting director Piero Ausilio was at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night as City crashed out of the Champions League against Barcelona.
Mancini is also an admirer of Milner, 29, who is out of contract in the summer and has attracted interest from a string of clubs in the Premier League and overseas.
Like Toure, Kompany, who turns 29 next month, and Zabaleta, 30, are stalwarts of the 2012 and 2014 title triumphs, but they have suffered extended dips in form this season and have had the rare sanction of being dropped from the team by Pellegrini. They are fans’ favourites but the City hierarchy might consider they have become stale over the last 12 months and it is time to move them on.
Dzeko, Navas and Kolarov, all 29, are regarded as important squad players but none of the trio have been able to command a regular first-team spot over the past two seasons.
Clichy, who turns 30 in July, is the club’s first-choice left-back but he has not been offered an extension to his contract, which expires in two years. Sagna, 32, has been on the fringes since joining on a free transfer from Arsenal and he may be allowed to move on, especially if Zabaleta stays.
Stevan Jovetic, 25, is the youngest of the City players who could leave but he has had two injury-plagued seasons at the club and, despite some encouraging performances, suffered the humiliation of being axed from the Champions League squad to make way for £28million January signing Wilfried Bony.