As we all know, Manchester City is a work in progress. Even though they are currently dominating the Premier League, they are nowhere close to what Pep Guardiola and the owners want. They want a Champions League Final contending squad. As of now, City are realistically not likely to win the Champions League, or to even reach the final in Cardiff. I have put together a starting XI of future players that could possibly make a huge mark in the club’s long term goals, including making the squad the favorite to win that Champions League trophy in a few years. Brace yourself, it's a very good one.
Goalkeeper - Angus Gunn
The twenty-year-old English youngster looks like he could one day be a starting keeper for City. Willy Caballero, 35, and Claudio Bravo, 33, are short-term options. At their ages, it is obvious that the two will not stick around for a long time. If a young goalkeeper such as Barcelona's Marc-André Ter Stegen is not signed, Angus will most likely fill in that #1 spot. Angus is the son of Bryan Gunn, the legendary goalkeeper who played his football at Norwich for over ten years. Angus will hope to follow his father’s path and have a successful goalkeeping career. Making a total of nineteen appearances for England’s youth squads already, Angus Gunn is certainly one to watch.
Right Back - Pablo Maffeo
Pablo Maffeo has a big opportunity ahead of him in City’s upcoming matches. With Bacary Sagna picking up an injury with France, and Pablo Zabaleta going on the decline, it seems he will be City’s best option at right back. Most fans are saying that they would rather see him play, and I agree that this is the best option. Zabaleta no longer has the legs to keep up in the Prem. Maffeo has shown a lot of promise in the EDS, and has made six appearances for his youth national team. This is everyone’s ideal long term replacement for fan favorite Pablo Zabaleta.
Central Defender - John Stones
John Stones was City’s most expensive signing this past summer, and he has been off to an incredible start. John has undoubtedly been their best defender so far, and he does not look like he will lose form anytime soon. The twenty two year old is a ball-playing defender, which is ideal for the Pep Guardiola system. He is a starter for England’s national team, and has made 12 appearances since 2014. I see Stones being City’s captain one day, leading the boys to several trophies.
Centeral Defender - Tosin Adarabioyo
Another England youth international, Tosin Adarabioyo, looks like he has a bright future and Manchester City. Joining the youth system aged five, the teenager has worked his way up to the U18s. He has even captained the youth squad, which is great experience for a young player in development. I have chosen Tosin over Jason Denayer as I do not see Jason succeeding with City. He has not been able to prove himself on his recent loan spells. I think John Stones and Tosin would create a formidable partnership not only for City, but for England as well.
Left Back - Angelino Tasende
After a loan spell at sister club New Yok City FC, Angelino is back in the EDS looking to work his way up the ranks. He made an appearance against Swansea in the EFL Cup in which he disappointed, however, Angelino still looks like a very exciting player. He has made an appearance for the Spain U17s, and will surely be making many more, whether it is for the youth squads or the first team. Angelino has scored some amazing goals for the EDS and has even bagged a hat trick against Leicester City in April 2015. This youngster tops off what looks to be a very strong back line for City’s foreseeable future.
Left Wing - Raheem Sterling
It is shocking to me that Raheem is only twenty-one. He has been one of City’s stand out players in this new season. He has scored five goals and assisted six, which is a breath-taking start. He is best known for his pace and his ability to run at defenders. Sterling has been able to shake off some heavy criticism, which shows how mentally strong he is. He has made fools out of critics, and is slowly gaining respect after his controversial exit from Liverpool. Raheem is one of if not the best young talent in world football. He will grow to be a legendary footballer that will forever be remembered as one of the best City has ever seen.
Central Midfield - Aleix Garcia
Spanish midfielder Aleix Garcia was signed in the summer of 2015 from Villarreal. He has played most of his football in the EDS, but has made a few appearances under Pep. He made his first team debut in the 4-0 victory against Bournemouth as a 75th minute substitute, in which he looked sharp. He played well against Swansea in the EFL Cup, and even put the ball in the net! He looks to be a fantastic prospect. He has made sixteen international appearances, from the Spain U16s to the U19s. This man could be the one pulling the strings from midfield one day, and all City fans will be looking forward to it.
Central Midfield/Attacking Midfield - Oleksandr Zinchenko
Oleksandr Zinchenko was one of the many young talents who put pen to paper in City’s exceptional transfer window. The Ukrainian came from FC Ufa, where he made thirty-one appearances and scored two goals. He seems to favor an attacking midfield role, and could one day fill the boots of David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne. He is currently on loan at PSV. He has spent a majority of his spell injured, and because of that has made only a single appearance. We all wish him the best of luck so he can return to Manchester raring to go.
Right Wing - Leroy Sané
Leroy Sané is one of Germany’s most electrifying youngsters, and he looks set to be one of the best. He joined City for an enormous fee of £37 million, and has not made a huge impact yet. Pep will decide when he is ready, and there should be no rush as Leroy is only twenty. The German International created a couple chances in his debut against Man United, and grabbed his first assist against Borussia Mönchengladbach. He has an amazing first touch, and is blisteringly fast. He has an amazing technical ability that has been compared to that of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Though off to a slow start, Sane will light the world on fire with his incredible talent. To read more on Leroy Sané, you can read my last article here:
Why Manchester City Fans Should Not Worry About Leroy Sané https://t.co/u6dx98o6ti— Bitter and Blue (@Bitter_and_Blue) October 9, 2016
Striker - Gabriel Jesus
Olympic gold medalist Gabriel Jesus is considered by many to be the best young talent from Brazil since Neymar. He was another expensive teenager signed by the Sky Blues this past summer, but will remain at his Brazilian club Palmeiras until January. There, he has made thirty-eight appearances and hit the back of the net fifteen times. For his country, he has made twenty-one youth appearances with seven goals, and three first team appearances with three goals. Gabriel was an integral part of Brazil’s first gold-winning Olympic campaign. There is huge expectation on this juvenile player. He will most likely be a huge success in the blue side of Manchester as he builds up his talent.
Striker - Kelechi Iheanacho
Not much needs to be said about this beautiful man! The twenty-year-old Nigerian has already made thirty appearances for Man City’s first team, and scored ten times. At his age, that is absolutely mind blowing. His goal per game ratio was at one point one every eighty-one minutes. He is simply incredible. He is a starter for Nigeria, and scored a brilliant goal against Zambia during the international break. His total goal count is currently at four, but that will grow very, very quickly. Kelechi will undoubtedly be a star for club and country.
Manu Garcia Alonso - Currently on loan at Deportivo Alaves. Has shown similarities to David Silva.
Brahim Diaz - Another Spanish talent. Only seventeen-years-old. Has just recently signed a first team contract.
Marlos Moreno - Promising Colombian winger. On loan at Deportivo de la Coruna.
Patrick Roberts - Big name youngster. On loan at Celtic. Has scored several goals and looks like he could be successful at City.
Jadon Sancho - Sixteen-years-old. Impressing for the U18s.
There are plenty of other upcoming players that I could mention, but I’d be going on for days on end. In short, City are going to be hugely successful with the talent they have. The only thing that City will really need to be hopeful for is a contract extension for Pep. This is something he addressed, and it seems very likely that it will happen. Guardiola’s past clubs, Barcelona and Bayern, are not as much of a work-in-progress as City. Surely he will stay for quite a while to lead the boys in blue to greatness and add to his already outstanding résumé.