Well, my last Man City post got blown up, now didn’t it?
Since I posted that, Matthijs de Ligt is very close to completing a move to Juventus, and Tanguy Ndombele has become Tottenham Hotspurs’ record signing. The only thing that I was right about was Rodri, who by the time this comes out, might have been announced by City already.
But after seeing so many outrageous bids for players (*cough* Joao Felix *cough*), it made me really stop and think about how the last City post I made just fuels the fire of the ever inflating transfer market.
It’s also very common for big clubs to scoop up incredibly young, talented players from U19 teams and develop them in their academies or send them out on loan, with the same going for the players that have spent their whole careers in the academy.
The first team that comes to mind are Chelsea, and the infamous “Loan Army” of almost 40 players that are shoved out to other clubs, with a small chance of making the team. Obviously, that will change this season with their transfer ban in place, but it’s not unrealistic to say that they would be spending a ton of money in the transfer market instead of the players they already have on the books.
Which brings me back to Manchester City. Over the past couple of seasons, I’ve seen the club lose a lot of great academy players due to lack of playtime. Goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who is now a starter at Southampton, Rabbi Matondo to Schalke, Brahim Diaz to Real Madrid, and most famously, Jadon Sancho to Borussia Dortmund. City have spent so much money on the academy, and signing young players to develop into first team players, but their future always looks bleak.
This past season, after the preseason tour in the US, Pep Guardiola wanted young Brazillian midfielder Douglas Luiz to be with the team for the season. Luiz couldn’t get a work permit, and was shipped off to Girona for another season on loan. Luiz was great that preseason, especially seeing him in person he played fantastic, and looked like a potential heir to Fernandinho. But with the signing of Rodri, does he even get a chance to prove himself?
Or what about the curious case of Patrick Roberts? City signed the now 22 year old English winger from Fulham in the summer of 2015, and since then he has been sent on loan to Celtic, Girona, and now Norwich. He’s clearly proven his talent on these loan spells, yet still Man City spend a ton of money on players like an underused Riyad Mahrez.
These are players that should be given a chance at the Premier League level. The only academy graduate to break that cycle has been Phil Foden, who is about to become a superstar this upcoming season.
There are plenty of players coming up through the academy and that are out on loan that deserve a chance when aging players begin to leave the club. David Silva should be replaced by Phil Foden, that’s a no brainer. But if Mahrez or Sane leave in the near future, why not give Patrick Roberts or Daniel Arzani a go? Or Felix Correia, who City are on the verge of signing from Sporting Club de Portugal’s academy, a Portugal U19 international and considered one of Portugal’s brightest prospects?
In the midfield, aside from Silva, Man City have Felix Nmecha, who made his debut in the Carabao Cup last season, highly rated prospects in Tommy Doyle and Taylor Richards, and my pick to replace Fernandinho, Croatia youth international Ante Palaversa.
In defense to potentially fill in for Vincent Kompany or Nicolas Otamendi, City have the versatile Philippe Sandler, and Eric Garcia, who had 3 impressive outings in the Carabao Cup, making the starting XI in all 3 appearances.
And up top, I’ve been pretty high on Spain youth international Nabil Touaizi after doing some research for this article. Touaizi is a center forward who is very comfortable on the ball, and can create chances. He’s also not afraid to pass the ball to teammates, and has some flair to his game. Last season, he had 12 goals and 2 assists in 29 appearances in all competitions.
All the names I’ve mentioned have incredible talent, and could follow in Phil Foden’s footsteps to become superstars in the game. While they are still incredibly young yet, I worry that the writing might already be on the wall, like it seems for players like Aleix Garcia, who are probably going to be sent off to Girona or NAC Breda again, and I’d hate to see this become another Chelsea “Loan Army” situation. Hell, even if it takes a transfer ban situation like Chelsea to realise the talent we have, I’m honestly all for it. One or two loan spells are fine for young players, I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t think they aren’t, but when these players get caught in a loan limbo while holes get filled by throwing cash in the spot, it’s time to take advantage of the in-house assets.