Pep Guardiola has thrown down the gauntlet to Yaya Toure by insisting the midfielder can work his way back into his Manchester City plans, but admits it will take a lot of work.
The 34-year-old has seemingly been cut adrift by Gaurdiola having made just nine appearances this season - five as a substitute - and despite Fernandinho suffering a hamstring injury in City's League Cup triumph, Toure is not expected to feature on Thursday despite him being the most natural replacement at the Spaniard's disposal.
City are set to clash with Arsenal on Thursday in a follow up to their comfortable 3-0 win on Sunday, and with Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne having effectively operated the midfield following the Brazilian's injury, Toure is once again expected to be overlooked.
Asked whether Toure could make a return at the Emirates in his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said, via Goal: "It depends on him. It's simple like that, it depends on him."
The City boss has had a number of clashes with Toure after he came to blows with the player's agent early last season, resulting in his banishment from the first-team picture. Having once again been cast aside this term, Guardiola was resistant to reveal what he must do to earn a return as he suggested the 34-year-old was currently not at his best level.
"It depends on him. If he's coming back as who he is, he's going to play. Yeah, he is fit," he added.
In other news, Guardiola was drawn to the issue surrounding the FA's charge over his choice to wear a yellow ribbon in support of his native Catalonia.
The City boss has been wearing the ribbon in support of Catalan's referendum for a number of months - which has seen a number of politicians jailed - and having deemed to be wearing a political message the FA decided to charge the Spaniard.
Guardiola admitted that he has received no further contact from the FA but admitted he is willing to keep the lines of communication open, but as a result of the charge the City faithful turned up at Wembley donned in ribbons in support of their manager.
On the issue, he said: "Of course I am going write the letter and explain our position but it is the same - I am available for the FA, absolutely. It is no problem.
"It was the feeling to belong to something. I'm really grateful for that initiative. They don't have to do it, it is in another country but it makes me really happy because it helps people understand what is going on."