The Yaya and the Rumor Mill

And the winner is...
And the winner is...

Before we handle other things on this fine Veteran’s Day here in the US, let’s go ahead and tackle the idea that The Yaya is about leave. I’ve been getting emails from a few of you and links in the comments section to various articles from around the globe, all of which are about how our beloved behemoth is Blighty bound.

The likelihood of that happening is hard to say, of course, because none of us has a conduit into the mind and soul of The Yaya, but I think we can use perspective to understand a bit more what is going on.

Now, let’s go ahead and get to the articles themselves. There’s this one from, which claims, among other things, that it’s the lack of playing time that’s getting to The Yaya.

Okay, sure, it’s playing time. There’s a rotation going and The Yaya isn’t making as many appearances as Xavi (13 as compared to 18) so that Busi can get more playing time in preparation for The Yaya and Keita’s departure in January for the African Cup of Nations. Yet comparing pure appearances is a bit speculative as The Yaya has been given a starring role during the Copa del Rey and a new midfield role against Mallorca in what turned into a 4-2 thrashing.

But rather than use Busi as a foil in their attempts to gin up the rumor mill, places like insist on suggesting that it’s Keita‘s increased number of appearances that is keeping The Yaya on the bench. Keita, of course, is “stealing” his minutes, that jerk:

After penning a deal in the summer, Toure has played only a handful of games for the European champions this term as Seydou Keita has risen to prominence at Camp Nou.

Comparing like-for-like, of course, would never occur to rumor-mongers, so they find the detail that best fits their idea of what is going on and make it fit the rumor they wish to circulate. Keita doesn’t play the same position as The Yaya, therefore he can’t be “stealing” minutes from him, but of course, well, let’s make it fit!

Seriously, read these articles before you get all worked up. Look at how they’re just letting the rumors go. The Yaya isn’t going anywhere this year and by the end of it you’ll see that, barring injury, he’ll have as many minutes as a normal squad player. Guardiola obviously trusts him as he put him on the back line for crucial CL matches, so let the season play out and don’t worry about whether or not his agent says he wants a better deal–of course he wants a better deal and I’m actually inclined to believe that his agent, scummy as he may be, is right to ask for one. His brother, Kolo, has te right to say that he’d love to play with his brother at ManCity, so let him say that and let them talk about things while they’re on WCQ duty. And then let The Yaya point out he wins, you know, titles and things like that.

Now, if you’re those clubs being linked to him, I know that saying “ManU is interested” in Yaya’s services is like me saying “Barça are interested in acquiring Pele in his prime”–duh, no shit. He’s the best DM in the world, who wouldn’t be interested. And we’ll have to pay up if we want to keep him and so we better pay up at some point before his contract runs out.

Would I like him to get more playing time? Yes. Would I like people to stop freaking out about these rumors just as I’d like Arsenal fans to stop freaking out about the Cesc to Barça rumors? Yes. There’s no point in getting insane about them because they’re rumors. Wayne Rooney isn’t going to go to FCB for €95million.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Andrew M.
    November 11, 2009

    i had an idea. because pinto plays quite well and i know i will be shot down for this, but just to keep pressure on VV or in fac just for any system with good keepers. what if they played a system where you play in goal until you concede, then the next game is the other keeper. then he plays until he concedes, so if he keeps clean sheets he will keep playing.

    any thoughts?

    oh and first

    • November 11, 2009

      What if every time Valdes plays he concedes once and every time Pinto plays he concedes four? Will we keep playing Pinto everytime Valdes conceede?

  2. Tajh
    November 11, 2009

    Funny article i now read on…..Rubin Kazan player Sergey Semak named his new-born daughter Barcelona to forever remember the win against us.

    • Boat Forever
      November 11, 2009

      Welcome to the this world Barcelona; though it has some EE, some CRYnaldo it also has some Xavi, some Messi, etc, oh sorry some Barca 😀

  3. JMo
    November 11, 2009

    If Yaya somehow leaves, I fear it could have the Makalele affect which occured in Madrid.

    Yaya is so vital, and he ALWAYS plays in the crucial matches, something all these articles failed to mention.

    If the match is an important one, YAYA is always on the pitch. Yaya knows this, and so does his agent, which is why he’s making the claim for more money. that’s all this is. mind game between the agent and the club so teh best DM in the world can get paid like the best DM in the world.

  4. Hilal
    November 11, 2009

    Just to make it clear just how freakin unreliable and the crap they spew is; they ran a story yesterday revealing the draw for the next phase of the copa del rey in which they claimed Barcelona drew Alcrocon. Quite shockingly I found out that not only is their information false, but the RFEF have not even announced a date for the draw, let alone carried it out yet.

    So please, when print some crap about Yaya leaving, dont take it seriously. They will print whatever the hell they want and wont think twice abot making stuff up, inlcuding “quotes”. It should really be called

    • cliveee
      November 11, 2009

      seriously, is that the case? coz i trust 80% of what they say!

    • stowe
      November 11, 2009 says the same thing about the draw. i’m trusting your source since i’m about to comment on the article

  5. diarmuid lenihan
    November 11, 2009

    Yes I couldn’t agree more that Ya Ya is the best defensive midfielder in the world way beter that Mascerano. And if Mascerno who contributes nothing to attack is worth 30 million

  6. Diarmuid Lenihan
    November 11, 2009

    then Ya Ya must be worth 50 – 60 million.

  7. Diarmuid Lenihan
    November 11, 2009

    an it would be madness to sell him anyway when we don’t need the money. Done.

    • eklavya
      November 11, 2009

      you could have written it all in 1 comment you know…. 🙂

  8. FCBarca
    November 11, 2009

    Well, these are good points…Except for the comments coming from Yaya’s agent…Agents are notorious for drumming up press clippings to get their client better wages etc but what would be the motivation here?

    If nothing else, it suggests, I believe, that the player himself is unsettled…That’s speculative, of course, but why else would the agent be making these comments?

    • November 11, 2009

      Well, I’m not sure we’ve actually given The Yaya a fair deal relative to his value. We keep increasing Messi’s deal, yet The Yaya only got one raise in the time Messi has gotten 3 and that raise was from “not so much” (seriously, from like the 2nd lowest paid on the squad) to like “a little bit more than not so much”. I don’t think he’s getting paid enough compared to his actual value to the club. That’s not too cool and so I think it’s fair, within the salary system that Barça uses, for The Yaya to ask for more.

      There are tiers to our salaries, apparently, with Messi being on top, followed by Ibra and Xavi, I think. I don’t see how, though, Pique would make more than The Yaya within such a system, but apparently he does. And that’s not to disparage Pique, but rather to say how much The Yaya is worth.

      • FCBarca
        November 11, 2009

        A legit concern…I recall his wages compared to other members of the squad were terrible last season…Even after the renewal, I believe he still hadn’t really moved into the top half of the pay scale.

        And for a player of his importance/value, should he not be a bit peeved?

        Perhaps this is, after all, about money

  9. Diane
    November 11, 2009

    As the first minutes of any international break loom, so do rumors. The press, who produce daily reams of copy on dozens of domestic teams in their own leagues and dozens more in any others of interest to their readers/viewers, face the specter of only a handful of international matches that interest them. So they make things up. If you read it heading into an international break its as likely to be true as anything you make up yourself.

  10. FCBarca
    November 11, 2009

    True Diane but can you really make up the quotes that Yaya’s agent made?…That didn’t reflect a settled player

    • November 11, 2009

      But you can always cherry-pick those quotes too.

      If a player says “Man, I love Barcelona, it’s so great, but I wish I could see my family more, it’s hard not to have them around” a “journalist” could just cut off the first part and report that the player is distraught at not having his family there and probably wants to move away from the club. They have the quote to back it up!

  11. FCBarca
    November 11, 2009

    How do you splice this together, though?

    >>Seluk told radio station RAC-1: “If Barcelona do not like Yaya there are eight clubs, the most important in the world, who are interested in signing him.

    “If he leaves Barca, he will not go to Manchester City where, according to his brother Kolo, he would be welcomed with open arms. He would sign for a more important club.”

    Seluk claimed Toure was unhappy at his lack of playing time under Pep Guardiola at the Nou Camp this season, adding: “Why did Barca renew with Yaya – to have him on the bench? He doesn’t understand.”<<

    • November 11, 2009

      Well, right, I don’t know, but I haven’t read the whole interview either. Whatever, it’s The Yaya and we know that he can turn men’s minds to jelly with a single wink.

    • Vj
      November 11, 2009

      He said that last year too, If I remember correctly..

    • Diane
      November 11, 2009

      First, it would depend on whether you heard or read the interview, if you read it — any splicing and dicing is possible. Almost the same if it was recorded. If you heard it live with your own ears, its still not the player saying it.

      Agents, owners, managers, lawyers, publicists and family members make all kind of statements aimed at putting their client, player, relative in what they think will be the best position. Sometimes its in response to something they have heard that the club has “said.” Its scary how much negotiating goes on in the media (and how much impact they have when they do make things up).

      It can also get pretty sad thinking of exactly how many “stake-holders” make money every time a transfer is made, and what goes into making the best of a not so long career, so I guess that part is inevitable.

  12. BlaugranaDOOM
    November 11, 2009

    Barcelona will increase his salary. This is a non-issue really. Yaya is a top 3 defensive midfielder in the world and he should be paid like it. Mascherano is paid pretty paltry wages as well and that is why he is unsettled. Yaya should be paid somewhere between Alves and Iniesta in my mind. Probably around 4-5 million a season.

    Let’s be honest here though, he has only been at the club for 2 full seasons. Messi has been at the club since he was 12.

    Barcelona definitely respects loyalty (look at Hleb vs. Messi) and stars who have already been established for a number of years (Henry, Ibra). Yaya has been world class for exactly 1.5 seasons (wasn’t he not good enough for Arsenal at one point?). He doesn’t need his agent mouthing off at every opportunity (like last June and last January).

  13. Cesc Blanc
    November 11, 2009


    my favorite rumor so far was that he will leave Barca in the transfer window……while he’s at the African cup of nations.
    I’m sure that there are MANY clubs in the world cuckoo enough to sign a player while he is playing at the CAN.
    It’s a pity that it always hits Yaya.

    And like you said, I don’t think that Pep could have made more clear his esteem for Yaya by playing him in defense in the 3 most important games last season.

  14. Cruyff's Coiffure
    November 11, 2009

    Until we raise his salary and he’s first choice for every big game, I don’t think this story will go away. Man City, for example, could quadruple his current salary without even paying him as much as Adebayor.

  15. FCBarca
    November 11, 2009

    If nothing else, it does give me the feeling that this is all wage related.

    Hopefully, it’ll get sorted in the near future or at least perhaps Yaya can give his agent a talking to.

    I want to see Yaya manning the midfield for years to come

  16. Soto
    November 11, 2009

    Since we are discussing rumors here, here’s a shocking one from ESPN:

    “Barcelona have such limited cash funds that the Spanish giants can only afford to take Robinho on loan and have been forced to ditch their interest in Javier Mascherano, according to a source close to the club.”

    (From \\ )

    And here I thought we were passing on Robinho because he’s just not good enough. 🙂

    But seriously, what is our financial situation? I remember there was some discussion of this back in August on this blog, but I can’t remember if anyone dug through enough of the info to get a straight answer. Are we cashed strapped?

    Even if you ignore all of the rumors about high-profile transfers, I still imagine that Guardiola is looking at a few additional players to deepen the squad for the second half of the year. We still have a long hall, with Copa del Rey, La Liga, Champions League, Club World Cup, the real World Cup, and whatever other competition I am forgetting. So if the only part of this ESPN report that’s true is that FC Barcelona is cash strapped, that would be the most shocking part.

    • Cruyff's Coiffure
      November 11, 2009

      I think implicit in the “we can’t afford to buy Robinho outright” claim is “we can’t afford to buy Robinho outright without taking out loans that add to our longterm debt.”

      We spent close to 85 million Euros net in transfers this past summer. We were also hit with a huge tax bill. I would not be surprised if our cash flow situation is less than ideal right now, even if we are bringing in more revenue this year.

    • jordi
      November 11, 2009

      Is his “inside source” the old lady outside the camp nou?

      • Soto
        November 11, 2009

        Proabably, but that old lady likely knows more than, so it’s a step up.

        • jordi
          November 11, 2009

          If uou put it that way, its seeming much more credible now 🙂

  17. barca96
    November 16, 2009

    if i was in barcelona, i would make a huge banner and put it in the stadium..
    we love you YAYA..pls stay

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