Adebayor and Touré square up in training as City tensions boil over
Players have to be separated by team-mates. Dispute comes on heels of incident with Balotelli and Boateng
Manchester City's image as a club racked by player disputes was done no favours on the eve of tonight's vital visit to Arsenal when Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor became the latest players to square up on the training ground.
As manager Roberto Mancini confirmed that City have agreed a £27m fee for Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko – a deal which leaves Adebayor another step closer to the exit – he and Touré clashed after an exchange of words. City insisted last night that the dispute was all in the course of another competitive training session but the headlock between the two, who both left the Emirates for Eastlands in the summer of 2009, reveals Mancini's demand that disputes must take place behind closed doors is still not being heeded.
Since neither Adebayor nor Touré are currently in the City team – both were omitted from the squad for the New Year's Day win against Blackpool – frustration may have played its part in the latest tussle on the pitch, unhelpfully positioned within full view of a public right of way, where Mario Balotelli and Jerome Boateng had to be pulled apart by Mancini last month.
Adebayor, currently recovering from a heel injury, did feature briefly yesterday in the discussion of City's prospects undertaken by Mancini, who said that he did not think the club would be bidding for Benfica's defender David Luiz. Mancini also said Dzeko's arrival would not marginalise Balotelli: "Every club needs three good strikers. Now we have Mario, Tevez, Adebayor, these are good players. We always [expect] Tevez to score but it is impossible. Adebayor was injured for one month and he is not right yet."
City needed a sense of calm heading to a club whom they have not beaten away for 35 years, with neither David Silva nor Balotelli fit to play a part. Mancini attempted to put the pressure on Arsène Wenger's side as he cited them as title candidates and kept City out of the equation. "It is possible that Arsenal win the title. I think every year Arsenal can win the title, like United and Chelsea. Arsenal are one of the big teams in England," he said.
Dzeko should be a City player by the end of the week but will probably not be available until the Premier League game with Wolves on 15 January. He and Tevez will become City's first-choice strike combination, though Mancini played down the idea of the two players operating as a traditional big man-small man forward partnership.
"It is not important, this, it is important [only that] they play football," Mancini said. "Dzeko has all the qualities a striker should have; he is good in the air, has good technique, is quick, is strong, tall, scores goals, in the last few years he scored a lot of goals. He has experience."
Mancini said for the first time yesterday that he believed City are one of the cluster of five teams who might take the title. "When you start the season you can have problems," he said. "Chelsea started the season and won six games in a row and now have difficulties," he said. "We had a problem at the start but it is better to have a problem at the start of the season. You have time to recover, to improve."
He does not seem intent on taking the Adebayor-Touré spat any further, despite the embarrassment of it following James Milner's tunnel clash with Yaya Touré at Eastlands in October and the heated on-pitch row between Adebayor and Vincent Kompany which came during the defeat at Wolves in the next match in October. A City spokesman said of the training ground incident: "There was an incident but it was nothing different to what goes on at all clubs. Training carried on and they [Touré and Adebayor] shook hands afterwards."
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Latest in Sport
Arsenal v Hull: Arsene Wenger ignores the sceptics and tells Gunners to seize Premier League title chance
Jose Mourinho believes Manchester City, not Arsenal, offer greatest challenge to Chelsea title hopes
Premier League: Arsenal beware - this is the tightest season in 11 years
Manchester United v Everton: Premier League match preview
Arsenal v Hull City: Premier League match preview
- 1 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing £314
- 4 Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts
- 5 I’m sure Kate Moss doesn't care about posing for Playboy. But I do