The Manchester City fans in the Transfer Tavern were delighted to progress into the semi-final of the Carabao Cup after beating Leicester on penalties earlier this week.
The Citizens propping up the bar in the tavern are dreaming of a quadruple this season after their side’s blistering opening the campaign. Once again, City needed a penalty shoot-out to decide their fate in the EFL Cup this week after Leicester held them to a 1-1 draw. Pep Guardiola opted to back some of the clubs finest selection of young players at the King Power Stadium as the likes of Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz, Tosin Adarabioyo and Oleksandr Zinchenko were all included from the outset.
City’s reputation has risen dramatically in recent years due to their financial power in the transfer market which has allowed them to acquire an abundance of quality players.
But Guardiola may not need to rely so heavily on big-money signings anymore, now that City have established themselves as one of Europe’s top teams and invested heavily in the clubs academy, infrastructure and facilities.
Although Foden, Diaz, Adarabioyo and Zinchenko are all relatively unexposed in the Premier League, their inclusion in first-team fixtures suggests Guardiola is preparing them for the step-up the highest level of English football.
On the evidence of their performances against Leicester and in previous fixtures this season, all four of the aforementioned players clearly have plenty to offer and have been selected on merit.
City currently have three 20-year-olds Pablo Maffeo (Girona), Aleix Garcia (Girona) and Patrick Roberts (Celtic) all gaining experience on loan, and there is no doubt that Guardiola will be monitoring their progress to assess which of his youth players are ready for the step up in class.
In the years gone by, City have barely given their youth team players much of a chance in the first-team, but that looks all set to change at The Etihad in the years to come.
Trusting in youth represents a much more economically sustainable method to achieve success, especially in the current climate where transfer fees continue to soar astronomically.
Now that City are established on the European stage and attempting to bring quality talent through their ranks, it is likely that their transfer activity will decrease and the selection of youth will become a priority.