The recent acquisition of top South American talents like Yan Couto and Kluiverth Aguilar make a statement about Manchester City’s plan for the future. The club is leaving nothing to chance to lay a strong foundation for the future with the capture of these budding superstars.
After spending huge sums of money to acquire ready-made top-class players around the world over the last decade, the club is now doubling up on the next generation of superstars.
For a brand that has become synonymous with splashing the cash (thereby getting into trouble with UEFA as a result) a shift in strategy could pay huge dividends. It could be the winning strategy for the future.
Perennial big spenders like Real Madrid have led the way with the acquisition of the next generation of Brazilian talent. Teenage players like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Reinier Jesus have all moved to the Santiago Bernabeu in the last year-and-a-half.
Apart from our academy graduate Brahim Diaz, who also joined the Spanish giants in the same time frame, they are all making good progress at the club. Vinicius announced himself to the world by scoring in the El-Clasico last February at just 19.
It’s understandable then that City could be identifying and snapping up the next superstars to avoid paying a premium for them in the near future. However, the biggest issue is whether these players will hang around long enough to make the step up to the senior team. Also, it’s rather curious that both players are right full-backs.
At 16 and 17 though, they could easily be trained to feature in any other positions the manager deems necessary. Aguilar in particular could be well suited for the center-back role. With Kyle Walker now approaching the end of his time at the club, Couto could be groomed to step right into the position in the next few years.
If this is what has been considered in making the signings, then it’s great foresight. Yet, ready-made material will still be needed in the meantime to replace some tiring legs. Players like Fernandinho (34), and Nicolas Otamendi (32) are now on borrowed time. Sergio Aguero (31) is expected to fulfill a childhood fantasy by returning home to spend the last years of his career at boyhood club, Independiente. That could leave a vacuum to be filled in City’s attack as early as next year.
Signing ready-made top-class players in those positions will still be important, even though young guns like Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Eric Garcia are ready to step up. Ultimately, the ideal strategy should involve investing in both experience and youth.