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Yaya Leaving? Seriously? [UPDATED 5/22]

Don't Dare Begrudge Yaya's Birthday

What on earth is going on in that majestic head?
What on earth is going on in that majestic head?
Alex Livesey

UPDATE: Amy Lewis of Sky Sports caught up with Dmitry Seluk so let's all pause a moment and offer up our sympathies. Her series of tweets about the interview is here. Essentially, Seluk is backtracking significantly, not that this doesn't make the story any less bizarre.

We interrupt our player ratings to address what could be catastrophically bad news for yours truly. My favorite player in the universe might be--it's not clear yet--Carlos Tevez' evil twin when it comes to judging respect and disrespect. Yaya Toure and his agent Dmitry Seluk have done what to this point most of us thought was not possible. He's made Tevez look mature in comparison.

If you haven't been paying attention to this story, I envy you, I truly do. Near as we can tell, Seluk went apoplectic over City's perceived snub of Yaya's 31st birthday. It is extremely difficult to tell what City did that was so atrociously ungracious but Seluk tries to explain in this interview. A side note for those of you who made it all the way through: I don't know the interviewer's name but I think he should get a raise.

The money quotes from Seluk, for those who couldn't make it all the way through (courtesy of ESPNFC):

  • "There are a number of things that have happened that have left Yaya feeling bitterly upset. He must concentrate on the World Cup now. But City have treated him with disrespect and have really hurt him."
  • "What happened at his birthday meant the club don't care about him. It was proof. They can say whatever they want -- 'Oh we like him but we forgot.'
  • "Forgot? About Yaya? The player who helped you to be two-time Premier League champions? The guy who helped you win the FA Cup and the League Cup?"
  • "His birthday can be on a normal day and, in a normal team, his teammates and club would at least give him good wishes. But when you win the title on May 11, a day later you go to Abu Dhabi and on May 13 you have a big party to celebrate the title and nobody comes to Yaya to say, 'Happy birthday,' what more do you want? They don't give any attention to Yaya. This is the s---tiest thing."

And finally, this little gem:

  • "This isn't about money or a new contract -- it's about human relationships and City have shown they don't respect him. I repeat, this is not about money. In fact, he would take less to return to Barcelona."

I heard this and prayed to all that is holy Yaya would distance himself from this hot mess of word granola. It would be so easy: "Dmitry represents my best interests and he is a caring, sensitive person. It's why I'm honored to have him represent me. That said, I will deal with my issues with the club within the club. I am happy with the year and I'm looking forward to the World Cup." Done. He could've made that statement or any number of variants. But instead, Yaya doubled down. His last four tweets, all within the last few hours.

1. Thanks for all the birthday messages today. Card from City just arrived... Must have got lost in the post. Haha

2. Jokes aside. Please do not take words that do not come out of MY mouth seriously. Judge my commitment to @MCFC by my performances.

3. My agent was trying to make a point here on my behalf, joke aside.It seems important for me to make a statement..i am going to do so.

4. Everything dimitry said is true . He speaks for me . I will give an interview after world cup to explain

UPDATE: Yaya deleted tweets 2 and 3. The first and last tweets are still there.

UPDATE 5/22: Tweet number four is no more.

The first tweet seems like Yaya is making light of the belated wishes and is ready to move on. The second is virtually inscrutable, the third promises a resolution to the mess and the fourth is enough to give every Citizen a sense of foreboding. That fourth tweet is Yaya doubling down on everything Seluk said. Worse, he's extending this story until after the World Cup which is damaging to the club on about twelve different levels.

But would he really leave over this? It's possible, I suppose. The player who has said everything right since arriving, about making history at the club and being the acknowledged team leader in almost every respect (only Kompany is comparable in the leadership department), I suppose it's within the realm of feasibility that Yaya Toure could be so upset over a perceived birthday slight that he'd be willing to leave.

Of course, it's equally possible something else is going on here. It could be:

a.       Yaya is making a money play. He signed a new four-year deal at the end of last season and, not entirely a coincidence I'm sure, it was the last time Seluk made noise about Yaya leaving. Yaya is coming of his best season in a City shirt and maybe he's looking to cash in; 20 goal seasons are relatively rare in the midfield so now might be the time to ask for more dough. The problem is, if Yaya wanted more money, he could say it in different ways than the birthday crap which brings me to a second, far more disturbing scenario.  To wit:

b.      Yaya really was disrespected by City on his birthday. His special day was entirely forgotten until much too late and when finally honored, he got a card and a cake rather than something a mite more substantial. It's difficult to believe that MCFC, a club very well known for taking care of its players since being taken over by the Abu Dhabi group, would completely forget the birthday and it's equally difficult to believe Yaya would be so upset since every time someone has claimed he's leaving, he's been adamant about how happy he is at the Etihad.

And that's it, really. It's either a money play or Yaya is legitimately pissed off. And in either case, Yaya does not look good. If it's the former, he's going to come off as greedy-he signed a contract last season and using the "respect me" card over a birthday to get more money will be seen as unseemly. If it's the latter, fans and teammates alike might suggest that at $220k+ a week, the money might be appreciation enough.