London - Manchester City's Yaya Toure's representatives claim the player had no idea that manager Pep Guardiola was expecting an apology over comments his agent Dimitri Seluk has made – but the depth of acrimony between player and club suggests that he has played his last game for them.
Guardiola went on the attack against Seluk on Monday, accusing him of lacking the courage to speak to him face-to-face when he denigrated him for excluding the Ivorian from City's Champions League squad. Guardiola said Seluk must apologise or it would be over between Toure and City.
City later indicated that a personal apology from Toure would be required, though after Seluk took to the TV networks to renew his attack on Guardiola, all hope of the player being restored seems gone. City would now be wise to let the player leave on loan in January – paying a percentage his wages if necessary – simply to remove the unwelcome noise which Seluk has been polluting the club with for the past two years.
Guardiola's comments on Seluk came after he had revealed that he would play no part in the EFL Cup tie against Swansea on Wednesday night. Asked why, he made no secret of his fury.
Guardiola said: “It was so difficult for me to leave him out of the Champions League. So difficult. I know him and I know he's a good guy.” It had also been difficult to omit 19-year-old Aleix Garcia, he said.
“But the day after his agent spoke and in that moment Yaya is out unless Mr Dimitri Seluk comes back to the press or to his friends in the media - because he hasn't the courage to call me, he goes to the media - and apologise to Manchester City first of all, then his teammates, and afterwards the trainer,” Guardiola added.
“When that happens Yaya will be part of the group and he will have the chance to play. As a coach, I cannot accept that when his player doesn't play he goes to the media and speaks.
“It depends. I know how much Dimitri Seluk loves Yay Toure. If he loves him, show me by apologising to Manchester City for what he did in the papers.”
Guardiola accused Seluk of thinking he is more important than he is and said the situation would not have occurred in his day as a player at Barcelona under Johan Cruyff.
“I cannot imagine in my day when a player's agent would go to the media and speak against Johan Cruyff,” he added. “Maybe it's the new era but I'm old generation, and an old generation agent has to concentrate on making his players his job and leave the coach to do his job. Today agents believe they are more than they are. If you have a problem, we can talk. But until he speaks, Yaya isn't going to play.”
Toure's importance to City has allowed Russian Seluk to continually attack City, embarrassing both the club and the player. He bizarrely criticised City for not giving Toure a birthday cake two years ago. But Guardiola has excluded Toure from his side and found there is no detrimental effect. The balance of power has shifted.