Manchester City are set for a quiet January transfer window, though there has been some interesting activity in regards to outgoings.
Midfielder Brahim Diaz recently joined Real Madrid for big money considering his lack of first-team appearances at the Etihad in a development that could indicate the direction Manchester City’s youth system is heading in.
Alongside Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho, who is currently tearing it up in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, Diaz was seen as one of Manchester City’s brightest academy products.
But with the Spaniard following Sancho out of the Etihad in search of more minutes and for a fee that could reach up to £20m plus, the Citizens’ youth system now looks like it has the potential to become another source of revenue in a way similar to Chelsea’s.
And based on the Diaz sale, it appears to be something the club will take full advantage of, which may come as a disappointment to some.
Given the investment that has gone into Manchester City’s youth facilities, which falls under the club’s recently developed £200m training complex, there will be an expectation for talented homegrown players to be developed and promoted to the first team — something supporters would argue has happened with Foden and even Diaz before his departure.
But without regular game time, how long is it before someone like Foden decides the next stage of his development as a footballer is best served elsewhere? It is something that is slowly starting to happen at Chelsea with Callum Hudson-Odoi’s desire to ditch the Blues for Bayern Munich in order to gain genuine and frequent first-team opportunities well-documented.
Considering that, it is clear that the whole youth player conundrum in England stretches beyond Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.
But like Chelsea, the Premier League champions now look to have a youth system in place that may end up as a means to generate money rather than create players for the first team.
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