Would 11 Yaya Touré clones make the best “One Man Team” ever?

“Yaya Touré obviously” Answers Reddit user u/youdontfitindatbuick to a popular question on Reddit: Who would make the best “one man team” ever?

The question got over 700 response and Yaya Touré was the most upvoted answer, because “Where else will you find a midfielder who scored 20 goals, that passes great and has played center back with success?”, according to one Reddit user.

TheoryOfFootball attempted to test this theory with a 10 year simulation in Football Manager 2019!

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Prime Yaya

We have thought long and hard how to give shape to this team of Yayas. Obviously, to test this theory to the fullest and give the team the most chance of success, we needed to have a starting eleven of 10 Yaya’s in his prime + a somewhat decend goalkeeper.

We like to believe that Yaya’s prime was during the season 2013-14 where Yaya was part of Manchester City’s fantastic title run. The team scored 102 goals by the end of the season which Yaya heavily contributed too with an astonishing 20 goals. Massive for a midfielder!
Yaya was also part of the PFA Team of the Year and was awarded the African Player of the Year on top of that.

To design Prime Yaya we went all the way back to Football Manager 2014 to find the attributes the FM team assigned to Yaya after his fantastic season with City.

Yaya Toure in 2014

As you can see his stats were quite good! Great physical attributes with 18 strength and fantastic Mental attributes with 16 positioning, 17 teamwork, and 16 composure.
His technical attributes should also be good enough to work out anywhere on the pitch: 13 finishing + 16 heading for attack, 15 marking and tackling for defence, and his midfield attributes were ofcourse already good.

For his hidden attributes we gave him the same attributes as current 35 year old Yaya, but increased his loyalty to keep him at the club for the duration of this simulation

Hidden attributes

All these attributes together give Yaya a suggested current ability of 173 (what is this?) , 1 point below Paul Pogba in 2018, sounds about right? His potential ability is set to 175 which was historically the PA of 35-year-old Yaya, this gives him a tiny bit of growth potential still.
One more thing, Yaya was 30 years old in his prime, but to give this experiment some longevity we decided to make him 27 years old, so we can hopefully enjoy Prime Yaya for about 10 years!

Young Yaya and Baby Yaya

To give the team a bench which doesn’t start complaining about game time one season into the simulation, we’ve created some young Yayas and “Baby” Yayas.
Young Yaya is based on Yaya Touré when he was in his last season for Belgian team Beveren, Season 03-04.
(Beveren actually has a very interesting history with regards to players from Ivory Coast.)
We grabbed the statistics for young Yaya from old school football manager game Championship Manager 03/04. Yaya was already giving shape this his “all-roundness” with some nice stats for Long Shots, Agility, and Creativity.
His PA in the game was only 155, I guess they didn’t expect his 13/14 season already back then. For this simulation’s sake, we’ve upped his PA to 165, so he can at least slightly grow into the machine he was bound to become!

To give the team some dept 10 years from 2018, when all the prima Yayas will retire, we’ve added some “Baby” Yayas to the team. For this, we had a look into Yaya’s attributes from Championship Manager 01/02, when he just arrived at Beveren!
Unfortunately, his attributes were generated randomly. We did however like his random stats from the game in the screenshot below (albeit a bit low) so we decided to just grab those.
His PA back then was 145, not great, not terrible. For the simulation we changed it to 165 once more. Will he reach it with a CA of only 90 though? Perhaps the great mentorship of all the Prima Yayas will help the babies to grow!

The team & Staff, old friends!

The team so far does not have a goalkeeper or manager yet.
We thought a bit on how to approach this for the simulation. We don’t want the goalkeeper or manager to be too OP, Prime Yaya should carry the team!

So what goalkeepers did we pick..? Shitty Joe Hart and his friend Costel Pantilimon ofcourse!
The two goalkeepers of City’s great 13/14 season. What makes this Joe Hart so shitty though…? Well… we simply took Joe Hart’s current stats and made him a bit younger, same with Costel. Sorry boys!

And for the manager we had to go with the obvious choise as well: Manuel Pellegrini, who was city’s coach in 13/14 and is now the manager of West Ham, not great, not terrible…

We finally ended up with our full team: 12 Prime Yayas, 8 Young Yayas, 6 Baby Yayas, Shitty Joe Hart, Costel Pantilimon and the current 35-year-old Yaya because every team needs an experienced captain right!

We did not make any huge modifications to the players after this, all the players got 20 ‘loyalty’ so they won’t leave as easily + a very good contract until 2030 (which bankrupted the club in my first couple of tries….). We also gave each player a few points (between 3 and 5) in some the positions which Yaya is not natural in to give Manual a bit of help with the selection.

3 hoorays for Birthday Cake FC!!!

We also needed a club and competition for our team of beloved Yaya clones to kick butt in. We went with the premier league (which in hindsight was probably not the best choice because of the huge amount of games) and replaced Cardiff with our new club: Birthday Cake FC.
B-Day is pretty much a carbon copy of Manchester City but without any youth recruitment and a transfer ban until 2030. It’s based in Manchester and is a fierce rival with both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Barcelona, Bayern, and Real Madrid. For the simple reason to prevent them from poaching our talented Yayas

Season 1

Season 2018/19 kicks off and immediately Inter wants to loan half our prime Yayas + Pellegrini decides it’s a good idea to try and loan out our whole bench… We need some depth Manuel, contain yourself!
Anyway, here’s an overview of the squad at the beginning with our club’s very fancy purple and pink color scheme. The player valuations are still a bit low but I expect that to go up soon…

Friendlies & Tactics

B-Day’s first couple of friendlies are not bad at all with only a loss to Real Madrid, promising!
Pellegrini decides to go with a wide 4-1-4-1. Probably not because it fits the team, likely because he just wants it that way…
It also seems that he has picked some young Yayas in the main 11 for the friendlies, interesting!

Halfway S1

We’re halfway in the first season and Birthday Cake FC sits in a slightly disappointing 10th place, but the gap to European football is only 2 points.
The value’s of all the Yayas have increased significantly however, but several injuries are starting to show up. Is the bench strong enough to still qualify for European Football?

Season 1 Final Score & FA Cup winners!

Success! Team Yaya has qualified for the Europe League by ending on the 6th spot behind the traditional English top 5. A goal difference of only 8 was perhaps expected with the unfamiliar back 4.
Unfortunately, no Yayas showed up in the top scorers or assists lists.

And on top of that, Birthday Cake FC won the FA Cup!
In a final against Southampton, B-Day managed to score 3 goals in the first half, securing thevictory early in the game. An unfortunate own goal by Prime Touré was the only moment that Southampton got close to the net, a fantastic result!

Will they do better next season? Let’s find out!

Season 2

The 2nd season was unfortunately pretty uneventful. The team managed to get to the Quarter final of the Euro Cup, after which it lost in two ties against Bayern. The team didn’t get very far in the FA Cup or League Cup either, losing to Chelsea and Arsenal in early rounds.
In the league, the team ended on a 7th spot behind the English powerhouses, with only a two goal difference with number 8th Southampton.

All of this has unfortunately resulted in Pellegrini getting the sack…

Season 3 & 4: Turkish Delight!

A very unexpected appointment by the B-day board. The club has assigned Fatih Terim as the new manager!
Apparently, a team of Yayas was interesting enough for the Turkish Manager to leave Turkey after managing the national team and Galatasaray for 15+ years, since his stint at Milan in 2001!

European success! The best years of Prime Touré.

While ending 7th and 6th again in the Premier League (the opposition seems to be a bit more balanced unfortunately). Birthday Cake FC had great success in Europe, winning the Euro Cup (Europa League) from Inter in 2021, and making it to the quarterfinals of the Champions Cup (Champions League) in 2022, losing to a very strong Liverpool.

Our players in 2022 are now valued a lot higher then they were at the start of the simulation. All Prime Yayas are valued between 41 and 72 million, and our Young Yayas are slowly creeping towards 20 million! The Baby Yayas don’t seem to keep up that much unfortunately, we suspect that it’s related to their starting abbilities.

Our most successful player so far is Prime Touré 3. Prime 3 is B-Day cake’s established left attacking midfielder and had a fantastic season in 2022 with 17 goals and 8 assists in 35 league games!

Season 5-10, One more success and then the inevitable collapse…

Halfway Season 5 our beloved Turkish Coach Fatih Terim gets sacked and unfortunately it’s all downhill from there. Frank de Boer who had mixed success in his career so far takes the reigns but is unable to lead the team to more success with the exception of yet another Euro Cup, beating Chelsea in the final!

In the following years, the team would become a bottom league contender before relegating to the championship and another relegation to the League 1 two years later.
There are most likely two main reasons for this, 1. The club started selling most Young Yayas for unknown reasons, as there was enough money to cover their salaries and no way to buy new players. 2. Our Prime Yayas got old!

So who’s left at the end: Our keeper Pantilimon (Hart got sold to Rangers), 4 Young Yayas, all baby Yayas and one Prime Yaya!
Most Prime Yayas that left became coaches but 3 of them ended up and are still playing at Sevilla!
Two Young Yayas that left the club actually developed into good players and ended up at Everton and OM, which you can see in the screenshot below. It does seem that the low professionalism attribute held back most Young Yayas to reach Prime Yaya heights. It seems that the Prime Yayas didn’t tutor them enough to increase that skill…

And whatever happened to the real Yaya Touré…? Well, he became coach of the Ivory Coast national team!

One more fun fact before we end, it seems that our Football Manager save has regenerated some new Yayas, one of which is actually a great player at Udinese! Junior Touré Prime 3.

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