Manchester City face an anxious wait to discover whether midfield talisman Yaya Toure intends to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast at the start of next year.
The 31-year-old is yet to decide on his international future and, if he opts against retirement, he will be the first name on the teamsheet for the tournament, which runs from January 17 to February 8.
Toure has twice taken part in the competition, missing a vital chunk of the Blues’ campaigns as a result, and this week’s sale of Jack Rodwell to Sunderland means they could be left short of cover.
England veteran Frank Lampard joins New York City FC permanently in January, while new signing Bruno Zuculini is in line to depart on loan during the summer transfer window.
Boss Manuel Pellegrini could also be on the verge of losing another central midfielder, with Javi Garcia said to be the subject of a bid from Zenit St Petersburg.
Football Express News understands that Toure will not be rushed into making a decision on his international career, despite the fact his decision could have a direct impact on his club’s transfer activity.
The ex-Barcelona man, who scored 20 goals last term to fire City to the Premier League title, looked to be on his way out of the club earlier on in the summer when he and his agent made unflattering comments.
Toure’s representative Dimitri Seluk hit out at City for failing to adequately acknowledge his client’s birthday in May, despite footage emerging of team-mates presenting him with a cake during a post-season flight overseas.
The player refused to contradict Seluk’s quotes, sparking speculation that he would hand in a transfer request after the World Cup in Brazil.
His younger brother Ibrahim then tragically died of cancer during the tournament and Toure told France Football that his club would not grant him compassionate leave to spend time with his sibling before he passed away.
However, he has now drawn a line under the issue by insisting he wants to make fans happy by staying for the long haul.