The arrival of Ante Palaverska at Manchester City will naturally have evoked one pertinent question amongst supporters: is he one for the future or merely another money-making tool to boost profits within the City Football Group?
Regardless of the fact that murmurs from City suggest the club would have liked Rabbi Matondo, Brahim Diaz and certainly Jadon Sancho to remain at the Etihad Stadium, there is no doubt that the club hierarchy will be content with the stream of revenue they continue to receive from the sale of young players.
At the top clubs at least, it seems that the development of youth is orientated around preparing individuals for a place in the shop window, drawing attention of top-tier European clubs due to their elite footballing education.
Man City are no exception to the rule; if anything, they are at the centre of this revolution. With that said, it’s fair to question if Palaversa, a deadline day arrival from Hajduk Split, is a future member of the senior squad or simply another cut-price youngster with potential for market growth and, ultimately, a tasty profit to help keep the club within the remits of Financial Fair Play.
Well, it’s difficult to tell at this stage, but a quick look at some of the players who have emerged at Hajduk Split before embarking on a new challenge in English football could provide an indication into City’s intentions.
In terms of Hajduk Split’s record departures, Palaversa is the 4th highest on the list, one place ahead of former Tottenham playmaker Niko Kranjcar. Topping the pile, though, is Everton’s Nikola Vlasic.
The 21-year-old playmaker was signed under Ronald Koeman but his failure to impress at Goodison Park resulted in a season-long loan move to CSKA Moscow, where he has been a revelation this season.
Vlasic has scored 7 goals and provided 4 assists from 20 appearances this season – including a priceless winner in a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League – and his ability to thrive in Europe suggests that he will eventually make his mark at Everton.
Vlasic’s improvement this season and Kranjcar’s success in English football both suggest that Hajduk’s youth system has a pedigree worth taking seriously.
At this stage in Palaversa’s career it is too early to say with wholehearted certainty that he will establish himself as a first-team regular in Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven, but the fact Vlasic, his fellow Hajduk graduate, has starred in Europe this season with three goals and two assists in six Champions League outings suggests City’s hierarchy have bookmarked the 18-year-old prodigy as a player with genuine potential to make the step up.
The status quo at Man City is one defined by the exodus of the next generation of talent, but Palaversa could be an exception to the rule following his £7 million switch.
Manchester City fans – thoughts on Palaversa? Let us know below!
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