At least three English teams have set their sights on Ya Ya Toure, Barcelona’s lanky Ivorian midfielder and it’s easy to see why. He has fallen out of Barca’s rotation and his physical presence and experience seems ideally fit for the English game.
Man City, where Ya Ya’s brother Kolo plays, and Man United are seen as keen suitors, but the place where Toure may likely land is Arsenal and that is due to Arsene Wenger’s crafty sales pitch. Arsenal usually offer less money, but brighter prospects. Toure would be an excellent fit at Arsenal, a Patrick Viera of 10 years ago. He would compete directly with fellow Africans Abou Diaby and Alexander Song at the defensive midfield position, but would offer another dimension and cover at the middle of the defense, as he did for Barca last year in the Champions League run-up. Arsenal’s style of play resembles Barcelona’s and he would adapt quickly. Plus London, a French speaking manager and several African team-mates place Arsenal ahead of City or Utd as far as personal considerations.
Ya Ya has found himself mostly out of Guardiola’s regular rotation, with the emergence of Seidou Keita and the return four healthy central defenders. But it would be a big mistake for Barca to let Ya Ya for less than a lot of money, in the case of the Manchester teams, or as part of a deal to finally bring Fabregas to Barcelona. Xavi again spoke about Fabregas “coming home” and, eventually, this will happen though not with Arsenal going well and with the Premiership and Champions League within reach. Should Arsenal fall short again, Arsene may let Fabregas go home next summer at the right price, possibly in a package including Ya Ya. Both Ya Ya Toure and Fabregas will feature in South Africa. Their performances at the World Cup may determine their future.