There seems to be a strange trend developing at the top Premier League clubs.
Clubs are not only looking at strengthening their squad this summer, but having to think about signing homegrown players to fit in with regulations of both the Premier League and Champions League.
One of the clubs struggling to meet the homegrown quota for next season is last season’s runners-up Manchester City, as they simply do not have enough homegrown players in their first team squad.
This summer they will lose the likes of James Milner, Frank Lampard and Micah Richards. Milner often played a bit-part role at City and is moving on for potentially more first team football at Liverpool.
Lampard was on on-loan at the Citizens from City’s satellite MLS franchise New York City FC and he will now make his way to the Big Apple this summer.
Richards had struggled for first team football in his final season at the Etihad Stadium, before being shipped off to join Italian club Fiorentina on a season-long loan, where he did not exactly set the world alight. The England international has joined Aston Villa on a free transfer as his contract with City expired this summer.
Hardly any of City’s key players are homegrown, with only first choice ‘keeper Joe Hart currently commanding a regular place in the City first team.
The first thing that comes into people’s mind when ‘homegrown’ is mentioned is a player being English. However, that is not always the case. That is the reason big clubs decide to recruit talented players at an early age and put them in their club academies.
There is expected to be a squad overhaul at Manchester City this summer, which could see a number of quality players arriving at the Etihad Stadium. However City boss Manuel Pellegrini also has to scramble about to sign players who fit into the homegrown category.
That is why the Citizens seem so determined to sign Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling this summer. Their need for homegrown players has also saw City linked with the likes of Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph and Arsenal’s England international midfielder Jack Wilshere.
The latest player City are being linked with is Barcelona’s Cameroon midfielder Alex Song, who is also being linked with a move to champions Chelsea.
Song was born in Cameroon, but spent six years at Arsenal prior to making a big money move to Spanish giants Barcelona three years ago. His move did not quite work out and last summer he was shipped out on-loan to West Ham.
The main attraction to Song is apparently his homegrown status. He is no doubt a decent player, if not slightly inconsistent as he proved at West Ham last season, but it seems that City may be competing with Chelsea for his signature on the basis that Song is homegrown, which quite frankly is ludicrous.
Manchester City is obviously a club with a lot of money and can compete with most clubs when it comes to finances. However their record of signing English players is poor in recent times.
The two main examples of English players flopping at Manchester City are central midfielder Jack Rodwell and winger Scott Sinclair.
Rodwell arrived at City from Everton as a highly-rated youngster. He had impressed for the Toffees and was expected to have a bright future in the game. There was one problem though he could not stay fit for more than five minutes.
His career had been blighted by injury prior to his move to City and he continued to struggle while at the club, before eventually moving on to Sunderland in 2014 for a fee of around £10million. At 24 he is still trying to resurrect his flagging career.
Sinclair is the ultimate tale of a player being out of his depth. The winger impressed for Swansea City and City snapped-up the winger for a fee of around £6million. The 26-year-old struggled to play regularly at the Etihad Stadium and over a three year spell made just 13 Premier League appearances.
In those three years though Sinclair spent a season on-loan at West Brom, where he failed to impress and last season on-loan at Aston Villa, where he played a part in the Villans reaching the FA Cup final. He recently joined the Villans on a permanent basis for £2.5million.
Manchester City are not the only club in the top-flight who may struggle to meet the homegrown rules next season, but it seems they may be the only one who will solve the problem by taking their chequebook out and overspending on homegrown players this summer.
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