Toure defends Man City move

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The Independent Football

Yaya Toure insists he has not taken a step down by joining Manchester City from Barcelona.

Toure has become the focal point of City's summer recruitment drive after quitting the Nou Camp for the blue camp.

With a £24million transfer fee and wages estimated to be around £200,000 a week, Toure is by no means cheap, but he comes to England with a wealth of experience, and a Champions League winner's medal from his time in Catalonia.

Yet there is also a suspicion he has left Barca for a more sedate life, content to just pick up his vast salary. This is a claim he wants to dismiss by stressing his belief that City are on the up.

"I don't think this is a step down," said Toure, who was speaking at the launch of City's revolutionary online coaching school. "The Premier League is amazing. It is stronger than La Liga. And Manchester City are making great strides within it.

"In future they will be a big club. Every team in every country is starting to talk about the club. They know we are signing good, important players and I want to do my bit.

"I don't feel pressure. I do have a lot of experience and I am determined to do my very best to make this club successful."

Saturday's clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane will represent the end of a decade-long odyssey for the 27-year-old.

Just like brother Kolo, Arsene Wenger wanted Toure at Arsenal as a raw teenager only for work permit problems to shunt the potential move to north London into the sidings.

Instead Toure headed for Belgium, Ukraine, Greece and France before finally ending up at Barcelona, where he quickly established himself as a forceful midfielder in a similar mould to Patrick Vieira, whom he now has the chance to play alongside.

Sir Alex Ferguson expressed an interest, although, according to Toure, he did not use the same personal touch he got from City boss Roberto Mancini.

"When you sign for any team, the most important thing is the contact you have with the trainer," he claimed.

"When they do something and they put pressure on in some way to sign you it is very important. When you don't talk with the trainer it is bad.

"That is why I came to Manchester City. We have a fantastic coach and we are signing good players. It will be great here this year."

Revenge could come in one of this season's Manchester derbies, when City will look to make amends for three last-gasp defeats to their old rivals. Before that, though, City must play Tottenham, Liverpool and the rest - challenges Toure insists he is relishing.

"I love the Premier League," he said. "I have always wanted to play here. The biggest players play here. People like Steven Gerrard and my biggest friend Didier Drogba.

"Physically it is good. You have to be strong and I am thirsty to do well here. There are so many big teams - Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and the rest.

"But City are here now and maybe for United that is not so nice because we are making good progress.

"I really want to see how they do against us."