Yaya Touré: Swansong season for City's favourite Ivorian?

When he arrived in the summer of 2010 from La Liga giants Barcelona, not many would have predicted the career he'd forge, whilst in Eastlands. So with the Ivorian ever nearing his 33rd birthday, perhaps it's time to look to the future and the potential replacements in his position. 

MARCO VERRATTI

City will miss the Ivorian's presence no end upon departure or retirement in no small part because of his omnipresent role in midfield. Touré's ability to be deployed in either a defensive or attacking capacity makes him an incredibly versatile player. A player who may be able to replicate this though, is Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti.

Whilst the young Italian does not boast the physicality that the Ivorian possesses, he makes up for it in his range of passing, as well as his ability to produce important tackles and interceptions, when called upon. In the 2014/15 campaign, Marco finished with the highest pass completion rate of all the top five leagues across Europe - an astounding 92% overall. With this in mind, he also made more than three times the amount of successful tackles that Yaya did, with 72 to be precise.

It's unsurprising that Verratti is one of Europe's hottest properties, and at the age of 22, there's still plenty of room left for the midfield maestro to improve. 

GRANIT XHAKA

With Verratti's notoriety, he will probably command a very high transfer fee so a cheaper alternative may come in the form of a name that is gathering momentum, Granit Xhaka of Borussia Mönchengladbach, is a talent that may slip under the radar of other big clubs, for now.

Xhaka is making a name for himself at Borussia Park for his Verratti-like versatility, both being able to operate as a defensive-minded midfielder, as well as galloping up the field in a more attacking sense when called upon. A player like Xhaka could thrive in City's system of play, soaking up the pressure then breaking on the counter attack with devastating force. His high completion rates of passing as well as his physical presence make him a potential candidate to fill Touré's place - where an impressive range of passing and power to dominate the midfield area are important.

OLIVIER NTCHAM

A player that has been drawing comparisons to the likes of Yaya Touré and Paul Pogba, is a French youth product of City themselves, Olivier Ntcham

Upon leaving City on a two-year loan at Serie A side Genoa, Ntcham has earned well-deserved praise from the Italian media and back at home with the Manchester Evening News; having impressed as a strong-running, technical attacking midfielder. He also has a knack for scoring impressive strikes too, which was reiterated with his unforgettable effort in Patrick Vieira's EDS side last term. His form has already drawn comparisons to Pogba by the media, partly because both youngsters came through the ranks at French side Le Havre.

At the age of 19, plenty within the club's hierarchy feel that he's not ready to be introduced to the first-team. Evidently, he's too good to play youth football. A loan elsewhere in search of regular opportunities - to Genoa in this case - is integral for the teenager's development, so it was important for him to leave the sky Blues temporarily.

Is Ntcham a replacement for the future? Yes, but to be thrown in the deep end, not least at his age, could easily backfire. To fill a gap as substantial as the one that Touré will inevitably leave, needs to be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

VAVEL Logo