The Manchester City fans have been delighted with the way Gabriel Jesus has adapted life in English football since he moved to the club in 2017, but there is reason to suggest the club’s next prolific striker could rise internally through the ranks.
Manchester City’s rise from a relegation-threatened club to one which can hold it’s own alongside some of the most prestigious clubs in world football has largely arrive due to the immense level of investment which Sheikh Mansour has pumped into the club.
The first-team has been revamped over the course of the past decade, but now City have established themselves as one of the world’s best the next phase could well involve a shift towards an organic approach to constructing the first-team squad.
Not only has the first-team squad been subjected to astronomical investment, the hierarchy have made a point of developing the surrounding area of the Etihad Stadium as well as investing in the club’s infrastructure, particularly the youth academy.
There are plenty of positive signs for City supporters that the investment is already beginning to bare fruit now that the likes of Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz are threatening to break into the first-team, but they are not the only youth players who could eventually establish themselves in the senior squad.
Residing within City’s U18 squad is a player who the majority of supporters will be unaware of at this moment in time, namely Nabil Touaizi.
The 17-year-old wonderkid is of Spanish descent and was brought to Manchester by the club from Valencia’s academy in January 2017 – the progress he has made since signing makes for promising reading for the supporters.
A centre-forward by trade, Touaizi’s record at youth level has been outstanding for both club and country; 5 goals from 6 appearances for the Spanish U17 side and 12 from 19 in the U18 Premier League last season tells you all you need to know about the rising star.
What is most notable about Touaizi is his confidence in possession of the ball when dribbling at his opposite number. Sure, at youth level fine dribblers can be made to look good by sub-standard defending, but there’s no doubt that his quick-feet and close control will hold him in good stead when he rises through the ranks.
Not only is Touaizi a goalscorer and a menacing threat with the ball at his feet, he is also a provider. During the previous U18 campaign he managed to lay on 6 assists to add to his 12 goals, taking his total contribution to 18 for the season – just one short of a goal a game.
Considering he only recently turned 17, it’s unlikely that Guardiola will be willing to give him a chance in the first-team next season and he will need to continue impressing at youth level before he makes a breakthrough.
With Gabriel Jesus firmly in line to succeed Sergio Aguero as the club’s first-choice striker in the years to come, Guardiola will be on the lookout for a player who can challenge the Brazilian for a starting berth and, once Touaizi comes of age, he could be the man to replace Sergio Aguero and compete with Jesus.
Man City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!