As Manchester City unveiled their new £200m 80 acre complex this week, the success of the new state-of-the-art facility can only be deemed a success if we start to see home grown players becoming first team regulars.
Sheikh Mansour is showing he can do more than talk a good game. ‘We are building a structure for the future, not just a team of all stars’ - something he said back to 2008, which is one of the first things you see as you walk into the academy is being put into practice.
No expense has been spared as the complex boasts 16 football pitches, three gyms and a floor full of bedrooms for players to rest. You have to tip your hat at Sheikh Mansour for ploughing so much money into a project that won’t bring short term success.
He has broken the mould of a typical foreigner owner. Yes he has splashed his cash to bring success at the highest level but he has gone above and beyond almost all other foreign owners by creating such an academy.
The only way the academy can be deemed a success however, is not only by their first class equipment and facilities but the number of players breaking into the first team. There is no point spending vast amount of money on this academy if no players are going to become regulars in the starting XI.
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Only Micah Richards has come through the youth system at City in recent years and he is currently out on loan at Fiorentina. If in five or six years time Manchester City are still going out and spending vast amounts on transfer fees and not bringing through any young talent then we will know the academy has failed.