Written by Andrew Earlie
THE MASTER PLAN
A new badge, a new manager and a new era for Manchester City. A season with much optimism surrounds the Etihad with the arrival of one of the best managers in world football. Pep Guardiola is facing the toughest challenge to date in his managerial career at City, the spine of the side that has led them to multiple domestic honours is in decline, and recent recruitment hasn’t been to the standard required to match the clubs ambitions. That said, you could argue City’s starting eleven is still the best in the Premier League and a few tweaks round the edges of the squad should see them return to the team nobody enjoys playing against. So far, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, Nolito and John Stones have all arrived and will certainly improve the quality within the squad and provide healthy competition for first team selection. Over the next couple of seasons will see big changes at City, with club favourites, even legends leaving and new, mostly younger players arrive, and that’s where the master plan seems to be coming along nicely.
September 2008, Sheikh Mansour announced; “We are building a structure for the future, not just a team of all-stars.” Almost eight years on and its clear to see he wasn’t messing around. In December 2014 City officially opened one of the most impressive football academies in the world with the aim of attracting and producing top talent both locally and globally. Since its opening, City have already seen success across almost every age group and even saw their under 18 side crowned league champions in May. A first team that is winning and competing at the top, attracting local talent to the club, providing facilities to maximize player development, growing the city brand globally, step by step the owners vision coming together. The structure now in place, City can now progress to the next level, and by employing Senor Guardiola, they have given themselves the best opportunity to reach that level.
credit Mark Freeman
As well as the players mentioned earlier, Manchester City have captured three of the hottest properties in European football, seeing off competition from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid to their signature. Confirmation that the next level has already been achieved in terms of competing against the heavyweights in the game for top talent. Gabriel Jesus in particular, regarded as the next best thing to come from Brazil since Neymar, Jesus had his pick from the top sides in Europe and opted for the blues. Marlos Moreno, a player South American Football expert Tim Vickery says is the real deal and is the most exciting player he has seen since the likes of Neymar and Aguero. Zinchenko another highly rated player, opted for City while the likes of Borussia Dortmund were hopeful of his signature. These signings are a clear indication that City are planning for the next five to ten years as well as the next two to three. Not forgetting the wheels were already in motion prior to Pep’s arrival, City brought in Patrick Roberts and Aleix Garcia, who I have huge admiration for as a player. Having watched him play a number of times it seems clear to me that he has a big future in the game. Brahim Diaz another player who already has a huge reputation at the club and still only 17. Leroy Sane and John Stones were both brought into the club to fit straight into the first team squad and both have huge futures in the game should they fulfil their potential. The players they have, the players they have brought, and the players coming through, coupled with the facilities and the coaching available to them, the future at Manchester City is looking brighter than ever.
How far can you see Man City progressing in the next few years? Should they be looking to win the Champions League? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Mikey