Are Manchester City about to change their recent philosophy?

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September 2008, a dull night in Manchester - or so it seemed. The City of Manchester Stadium was quiet one night, a typical dark hour that far side of the city.

At least until news broke out that Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon Al Mubarak bought Manchester City football club - a club with, back then, an uncertain future but plenty of potential and surrounding land on which to build a dynasty.

This wasn't just any old takeover however, the new owner and chairman of the board lucratively unveiled a celebration signing to kick start their reign into life.


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Rumour had it that Robinho was at the ground and holding talks. People couldn't believe it, they flocked to the stadium, and there he was - being unveiled on national television.

A deal worth £32.5 million - the most expensive recruit in the club's history back then. Manchester City fans, from that moment on, knew the new owners meant business. 

This was almost seven years ago now. Two premier leagues, an FA Cup and a League Cup later - just how far have Manchester City come and what is the next step?

The next step is a step they've failed to take miserably. The step of homegrown academy players - to be able to nurture young fresh talent right on their doorstep in the gleaming and brand new £200 million Etihad Campus.

However, there is clear evidence now that the citizens' plans for the future are now slowly getting into gear. It seems that in a gradual amount of years to come, the old ways of hitting the transfer market for big money quick fixes will be a thing of the past, at least a more rare prospect anyway.

Evidence of this transition is clear through some young prodigies already coming through the blues' new academy system.

Great news for City it appears - since the last true prodigy to make it through the starting gates at the Etihad was English right back, Micah Richards. The 27 year old former blue, now at Aston Villa, won nearly everything domestically with City is even considered a blues legend in some supporters eyes.

Once one of the best right backs in the Premier League, it's a mystery how he never got more England caps - with Roy Hodgson only choosing to offer him a reserve England spot for Euro 2012 following one of Richards' best seasons. 

Ever since Richards however, the sky blues have failed to produce any noteworthy youngsters. Until now. The likes of Marcos Lopes, Jason Denayer, Brandon Barker and Kelechi Iheanacho are showing great promise at their young ages and look set to possibly make a handful of first team appearances at the Etihad this coming season.

Marcos Lopes, 19, had a successful spell in the first team at Lille last season - despite picking up a few minor injuries with the French side. Jason Denayer, 20, picked up valuable title winning experience on loan at Celtic last season - forming an excellent partnership with Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defence.

His form for the the Hoops even earned him a call up to the Belgian national side. Meanwhile - Kelechi Iheanacho and Brandon Barker, both 18, have been in sparkling form for City's elite development squad and have performed well on the citizens' pre season tour with Iheanacho even grabbing a goal against Roma in Melbourne. 

All these academy graduates are showing fantastic promise, but with City's disregard for academy talent in recent years, will they get a chance in the first team? They should, or the sky blues faithful will have to keep watching City bring in big money talent, at least for the foreseeable future.  

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