Three-time Premier League winner Yaya Toure will spend the next couple of weeks training with Leyton Orient – but the 37-year-old is not preparing for a stint in League Two.
The Ivory Coast legend, formerly of Manchester City and Barcelona, is working with Ross Embleton’s side as he tries to get fit ahead of the new season.
Toure is based in London and it’s understood his agents recently contacted Orient to see if he could use their Chigwell training ground.
👀 Who have we got here then?
It’s only three-time Premier League, Champions League, La Liga and African Cup of Nations winner Yaya Touré.
There he is look, in his Leyton Orient top at training this morning.#LOFC #OnlyOneOrient pic.twitter.com/nvX99rro4Y
The midfielder has not played in English football since leaving City at the end of the 2017/18 season.
From there he moved to Olympiakos in Greece and most recently to the Chinese Super League with QD Huanghai.
Sportsmail understands he will head abroad to continue his career once the travel restrictions caused by coronavirus are lifted.
Toure thanked Orient for allowing him to train with them in an interview with the club – and also spoke about his future ambitions.
He said: ‘The manager and the staff were fantastic in allowing me to come train with the lads. It’s a huge opportunity. I’m very happy. The welcome was fantastic.
‘I just want to enjoy it until the last minute. Football, for me, is everything. I’ve been out of football for the last three months with the lockdown and I was thinking I missed something. It’s difficult. I feel like I’m at home. I want to train and do my best, and maybe we’ll see.’
Toure spent eight years at Manchester City, winning three league titles, the FA Cup, and three EFL Cup titles.
The Ivorian has also opened up on his recent spell in the Far East, adding: ‘China was fantastic. It was a second division team. I helped them get into the first league. It’s a different mentality and a different way to see football.
‘Those people are passionate. My arriving there changed a lot of things. After that the players started to believe. As soon as I was there, everyone was committed. It was a different challenge for me.’
Earlier in his career, he became a Spanish, European and world champion with Barcelona. Toure is also a four-time African Player of the Year.
Now 37, he appears determined to keep playing and has turned to Orient to help him stay in shape.
Though he has no connection to the club, Orient were happy to help.
They are preparing for their second season in League Two, having returned to the Football League under Justin Edinburgh back in 2019.
Following the manager’s sudden death, Embleton helped keep Orient clear of the relegation zone before the 2019/20 campaign was curtailed by Covid-19.
Sportsmail understands Orient are likely to use Toure’s brief stint to help raise money for charity and the club following the financial devastation caused by coronavirus. It’s believed they could flog signed memorabilia to supporters.
It follows former loanee Harry Kane’s decision to sponsor Orient’s 2020-21 kits.
The deal, worth around £100,000, means the club’s home shirt will carry a message of thanks to the frontline workers fighting COVID-19, while Haven House Children’s Hospice and mental health charity Mind will appear on the away and third kits, respectively.
Following the gesture, Orient sold more shirts in two weeks than they managed throughout the whole of last season.
Kane’s offer – already worth considerably more than the average League Two shirt sponsorship deal – came after they raised more than £10,000 for Mind through their Ultimate Quaranteam Fifa tournament during lockdown.