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Man City sign 14-year-old Darko Gyabi: Is he Jadon Sancho’s replacement?

Millwall Youngster Makes City Move

England v United States - International Friendly

So much has been made of Jadon Sancho leaving Man City. The 18-year-old has burst to life in Germany after leaving the Sky Blues to join Borussia Dortmund last summer. He has had it so good that he has broken into the national team setup as a result. That has led to calls in some quarters for other English youngsters to follow in his footsteps.

Pep Guardiola has also been asked if he will consider buying back the player as City have a buy-back clause in the sales contract. But the Catalan manager has passed up the opportunity insisting the player did not want to be at the club in the first place, otherwise he wouldn’t have chosen to leave.

However, as recently reported by the Sun, City have struck a deal for another youngster that could be the perfect replacement for the one that got away. The club has beaten Arsenal and Wolves to the signing of 14-year-old Darko Gyabi from Millwall for an initial £300,000.

The youngster, who is already an England youth international, has moved to the Etihad from Millwall in a deal worth around £300,000, with add-ons reaching over £1 million depending on his success in future.

Gyabi, who is from Catford, is a box-to-box central midfielder whose flair and skill caught the attention of officials at the Etihad Stadium. The South London lad was playing two years above his age last season in Millwall’s U16s and has been compared to Manchester United’s Paul Pogba in style. City are hoping he turns out to be one of the stars of the future.

The 14-year-old is the latest teenager from South London to move to the Etihad campus, as City’s recruitment has shown a clear trend of targeting youngsters in the capital. The youngster follows the same path already threaded by Taylor Richards, Ben Knight, Ian Carlo Poveda and Sancho.

However, Sancho left the club for Borussia Dortmund last season and that has opened the door to the senior national team. The Dortmund winger is just four years older than Gyabi and comes from the same estate as the youngster.

He is excelling in the Bundesliga with five goals and seven assists to his name so far this season, which has led to Gareth Southgate selecting him for his Three Lions squad. And so he has become a senior international at just 18.

The rise and rise of the former youth international has made him a trailblazer for other youngsters. Having also signed for City from Watford at the age of 14 in a deal worth £66,000, he left three years later in the summer of 2017 for £8 million without even playing any first-team match for the Cityzens.

Having watched the youngster play for Millwall Under-16s last season, Lions boss Neil Harris believes City have signed an ‘exceptional young player’ in Gyabi.

“I’ve seen Darko play myself a couple of times and he’s an exceptional young player. But when Man City come calling it’s very difficult to make players want to stay.

“We wish Darko all the best for the future and we hope to see him on the big stage one day,” Harris said.

Gyabi may not be a like for like replacement for Sancho, but going out to get another bright star for the future shows the club is unrelenting in preparing for future. At this rate, it becomes clear that the club is determined to keep Manchester blue and play a leading role in both league and European football in the years to come.