Toure planned Manchester City move for months

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The Independent Football

New Manchester City signing Kolo Toure has revealed his move from Arsenal to Eastlands has been on the cards for six months.

The 28-year-old defender has signed a four-year contract with City after ending a seven-year spell at Arsenal.

He follows former Gunners' team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor in joining Mark Hughes' side, but claims he knew he would be moving long before the Togo international's transfer.

"I think before Adebayor we knew," he said at his presentation.

"There was some talk about coming here. It's from six months ago."

Toure claims he had received offers from abroad, but never contemplated leaving the Premier League.

He said: "I was the last one in the 'Invincibles' team (the Arsenal side that went a whole season unbeaten in the league) and I was expecting to leave Arsenal.

"I think Arsenal are a really good team, but it was the right time for me to move.

"First I thought I did not want to leave England, even though other teams came in for me. But it was important not to leave for me and my family."

"Manchester City are a really good team and want to do something. I am really delighted to be here, the future is big."

Toure feels his new employers can challenge for the Barclays Premier League title next season.

He added: "Yes, I believe (so), that's why I am here. The quality is big, there are fantastic players here.

"I will give everything I have to make the club one of the best in England."

Hughes is waiting to see whether City will manage to further boost their defence by signing Joleon Lescott, with Everton confirming overnight they had rejected an £18million bid for the former Wolves centre-back.

"My understanding is that we've already done that and by all accounts Everton have rejected that," the Welshman said of the latest bid. "We'll wait and see."

Hughes has been impressed with what he has seen so far of 28-year-old Toure.

"We're absolutely delighted Kolo's here," he said. "Until you actually work really closely with a player, you have impressions from afar of the qualities they display for their clubs but once you get close up it's reassuring everything you've seen in the past comes to fruition. He's showed that in the space of time over one session."

He also claimed Toure would still have been purchased had the attempt to lure Chelsea captain John Terry to Eastlands been successful.

"I would say yes," he said in reply to that question. "We've looked at players we feel will help us.

"There's no difference in the quality of players we've targeted. We're looking at players who will be at the same level to help us progress. We have a list of category A players of the type that will enable us to be successful in the future. John Terry was on that list and Kolo very much so.

"We don't move from one player to a less player, we go from one player to next at that level.

"He's going to help us in a great way, his leadership qualities were evident this morning. He has the benefit of being at a top, top club. He understands the mentality you need, we've seen that already.

"We're progressing nicely. The business we've already done is exceptional. We're really pleased with the quality we've been able to bring in. Obviously there's still a way to go in the transfer window and we'll look at opportunities and see what we can bring in.

"They'll have to be top-quality players to improve us. There's always deals to be made towards the end of the window that just present themselves and are right for the club at that time."

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has tipped the revamped City squad to challenge for the Premier League title this season, but Hughes is not getting too excited by the hype.

"There's a number of managers in and around us that use our situation to possibly lessen expectations of their own club," he said.

"I don't think Martin's the only manager of teams that could potentially be in and around us that have mentioned we should win the title. It maybe eases the pressure on them."

A busy day at Eastlands yesterday also saw Nedum Onuoha sign a new five-year contract with the club, much to Hughes' delight.

"It was never in my thoughts to involve him in any deal," said the former Blackburn boss.

"We're delighted he's committed himself to the club. This is his club. It's important to have a core of players who have a real empathy for the club."

One player who will not be in Hughes' plans for next season is Brazil midfielder Elano, whose departure for Galatasaray was confirmed this morning.

"It's a big year for Ela, a World Cup year," said Hughes. "Obviously he wants to stay in and around the Brazil national squad. Obviously this year the guarantee that he would play week in week out wasn't there for him and I think that was key to his decision to leave.

"He's moved on and it's a good deal for the club and a good deal for him as well by all accounts. We wish him well."