According to the BBC, Manchester City have recouped £150 million from the sale of academy or partially developed youth players in the past three years, with talented Spanish youngster Brahim Diaz the latest to leave the Etihad Stadium in search of regular playing time.
The 19-year-old follows Jadon Sancho who left for Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017, and there are fears that many more talented youngsters will follow the duo if their progress to the first-team isn’t fast-tracked.
Given the quality of senior players at the disposal of manager Pep Guardiola, it remains to be seen what the future holds for many of City’s youngsters.
It won’t come as a surprise if the club lose more of them going forward, but Spanish football expert Guillem Balague believes the fault isn’t entirely the club’s.
He reckons the young players are no longer patient and will leave once an opportunity comes knocking.
“Let’s not blame the club only, it’s the players who’re taking the decision to leave. The club have got their hands tied because they cannot have a longer contract than three years until they get to 18,” Balague told BBC 5 Live Sport.
“So they get a professional contract at 17 and then they get to 18 and think “Borussia Dortmund actually is going to give me more playing time because I actually have one in contract to say Pep Guardiola is gonna give me time and he doesn’t want to sign that.
“Money-wise, City can afford the money Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid will pay for the youngsters, but it’s up to the youngsters to move on, they want to and professional players should be in that position as well that you want to fast-forward your phases, you just want to become the professional right now.”
Man City have recouped £150 million from the sale of academy or partially developed youth players in the past three years ?@GuillemBalague says it's not just the club's fault, it's the players who are eager to leave for playing time ?
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) January 31, 2019
City included a buyback option in Sancho’s deal, but didn’t in Diaz’s.
While they won’t like to keep losing their talented youngsters, they will continue to rake in the cash and retain the right of first refusal on many of them that choose to leave going forward.