Inter Milan reportedly want to sign Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure on a free transfer in order to afford his wages.
Sportmediaset claims the Serie A heavyweights are trying to find a way of meeting the Ivorian’s salary expectations and believe the best solution is to test the Blues’ resolve by offering to take him off their hands for no fee.
Toure’s future has been in the spotlight this week, with the 31-year-old hinting at a summer exit by openly discussing the possibility of pursuing new challenges in an interview with Foot Mercato.
“No amount of wages will make me stay at a club if I feel that I no longer belong there or if no challenge exists,” explained Toure.
Those quotes came just 24 hours after Paris Saint-Germain star Serge Aurier told the same publication that his Ivory Coast colleague could be tempted to join him in the French capital.
“We talked a little bit,” said Aurier.
“No one can deny Paris. He has an attraction to Paris, but I do not do the negotiations! I talked with him, Paris interest him, but it would be necessary for both the club and the player to agree on certain things.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the player, and his indifferent form this term, it remains to be seen whether City will consider allowing one of their most high-profile figures to depart for free.
During his five years in Manchester, Toure has become an iconic figure in the eyes of supporters, having scored the goal which ended the club’s 35-year wait for a trophy in the 1-0 FA Cup final victory over Stoke City in 2011, just weeks after netting the winner in the semi-final against bitter rivals Man United.
He has played a key role in two Premier League title triumphs, and was on the scoresheet 20 times last season to help Manuel Pellegrini’s men overhaul Liverpool and claim top spot.
However, there is a suspicion that his powers are fading and at the age of 31 he lacks the mobility to operate in Pellegrini’s favoured two-man central midfield.
He has still managed a return of 10 goals in all competitions, but has not had the same influence on results, with City exiting all knock-out competitions before April and languishing in fourth place in the Premier League table.
Should he seal a move to Inter, Toure would be reunited with former City manager Roberto Mancini, who was at the helm when the club swooped to sign him in 2010. Toure was a near ever-present in the team throughout Mancini’s three-and-a-half year reign.