Strictly Hypothetical: Yaya Toure to MLS?

With the rumors of Yaya Touré’s departure from Manchester City at the end of the season, rumors about his agent speaking with multiple clubs across the world immediately begun stirring. Now, that announcement is confirmed publicly. From Ligue 1 to the Chinese Super League, teams are going to be rushing into making deals for arguably one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, and without doubt the best in his position in Africa. Being only 32 years of age, Touré still has the ability to garner a generous bounty for his efforts.

But is MLS in on the mayhem?

The short answer is probably no. Touré’s transfer price is likely too high as of right now, and the Ivorian has already mentioned his preference to stay in the Premier League should an attractive deal come his way.

Ok, but what if?

Speaking completely hypothetically, and that MLS refrains from implementing some convoluted process for picking a team for him to play, here are the possible teams Yaya could fit in comfortably as well as teams where his talents could likely rub against the grain. Obviously, Touré would require a contract worthy of DP status, so ten and a half teams aren’t worth mentioning at all (but wouldn’t it be great to see him in Montreal? Seriously). TAM is completely out of the question as well.

Worst Fits:

-          New York City FC – City has been included as an exception to the DP rule stated above, since the possibility of a DP slot opening in the summer transfer is always a possibility for any team (especially teams with aging stars that aren’t contributing to their fullest potential). However, considering Yaya has a year remaining on his Manchester City contract and wants out, it’s highly doubtful he would still want to continue playing under that City umbrella.

-          Seattle Sounders FC – While yes, the front office has shown a propensity to splash the cash for high quality players, and Sigi Schmid has continually proven that he is able to command the respect of big names, the fit just doesn’t feel right. Turf issue aside, the playstyle of Seattle seems to run differently than what Touré is comfortable playing. For the past few years, the Sounders relied on sturdy defense and quick transition to offense with Ozzie Alonso as their pivot point. In that transition, the entire team moved quickly up the middle to Martins and Dempsey and scored on the break. With the absence of Martins, Seattle is learning that slowing the pace and playing the flanks with Valdez up front is a new strategy they’ll need in order to get the most of their current players…and that learning curve is biting them hard right now. But as far as Touré is concerned, Seattle isn’t quite ready for his abilities to slowly creep up from the back in the shadows ready to pounce while the team is in possession, let alone leave Alonso on the bench.

-          New York Red Bulls – If Touré was available two years ago, this would have been seen as a no-brainer for the red New York team. Wright-Phillips wasn’t yet a DP, and Henry was on his way out. However, spending the kinds of expected money we’re likely to see from his future transaction, the fresh new management style of finding players of value without turning over the wallet wouldn’t mesh well with Yaya’s agent. Plus, there’s that issue of sharing space with a certain little ninja who was just offered a nice new contract.

Decent Fits, but not quite:

-          Philadelphia Union – At this point, the boys in blue and gold will take just about anyone that can help in some way. However, time and time again, the ownership group has shown that they are unwilling to fork over the money for a player that could actually impact the team’s chances unless they’re permitted to use their hands.

-          D.C. United – If ever DC needed a strong midfield presence, it’s now. The departure of Perry Kitchen has left a hole that everything including the sink can’t fill. While fans and certain pundits alike believe that United need to look for a new position up front, what is truly missing is a strong capable, confident body in the middle third that can threaten both ends and can create chances in the process. Once that happens, the front line will fix itself. The issue with D.C. is the money, and there is likely to be little of it finding its way into the roster until the new stadium is up in place.

-          Houston Dynamo – An upgrade on Clark or Alex might be what this team needs to break into the challenging Western Conference playoff positions. However, the fact that Houston is currently sitting on a major asset in Cubo, not knowing what to do with him, leaves doubts that Coyle could effectively utilize all of Yaya’s skill sets.

-          Columbus Crew – Currently, Columbus is dealing with a minor instability in defense. The offense is also finding difficulties getting in net; that’s partially due to opposing teams finding a way to prevent an offense that hasn’t changed their ways (not worth the risk changing a winning formula until it stops winning...yet). Bringing in Touré would be at the expense of Tchani or Trapp, but it would allow a first line of solidity in defense, and his attacking prowess would clear space for Meram, Higuain, and Kamara. Though stylistically, he would work well with the Crew, the team as it is now doesn’t necessarily need any new additions as they will begin to find their way again. Finally, there’s the issue of whether or not the front office would want to spend money for a third DP.

Best Fits:

-          Sporting Kansas City – Plop Touré in the middle of SKC’s 4-3-3, and watch out! The prospect is almost too scary, considering how potent the Sporting attack currently is. Mustivar would be the unfortunate casualty in the process, but his contributions from the bench and the added depth would be equally satisfying for the fans in the cauldron. Sporting’s current success and lack of need for a player of Yaya’s caliber puts the team on the bubble between best fit and decent, but the thought of that formation with such a threat in the middle makes this author just a bit weak in the knees.

-          New England Revolution – Over the last two years, the Revs have fallen into a slump of losing streaks so baffling, you begin to wonder how such a well-stocked team even managed to lose so many consecutively…twice! Part of the answer was losing Jermaine Jones. Injuries plus call-ups took away a major threat in the middle, and those periods of times saw points being flushed down the toilet. Now, with Jones permanently gone, a physical presence could be just the ticket alongside Rowe or Koffie to prevent a third reckoning. Also, just like Jones, Touré has those urges to blast balls at the net if the opportunity arises, which gives Rowe the ability to play further up, offers Nguyen space to take shots or deliver a killer pass, and frees up any combination of Bunbury/Fagundez/Davies/Agudelo to roam around causing havoc to the opposing back lines. Add the fact that the Krafts have been showing recent interest in investing in their team (so long as there is a decent return), and it’s the perfect storm.

While all of this is purely fantasy, raising the hypothetical situations of acquiring that player for a certain team tends to highlight the current strengths and weaknesses of each program. Even one of the greatest players in the game today can be a bad fit for a certain organization…

...or he could be exactly what the team needs.

Leave a comment below if you believe Yaya Toure would make a great addition to your club and why!