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Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 10:44 UK

Man City switch focus on to youth

Stephen Ireland (left) and Wright-Phillips (right)
Ireland (left) and Wright-Phillips (right) both trained in City's academy

Manchester City say their recent spending spree is over and they now intend to invest heavily in the development of young players.

Since being taken over by the wealthy Abu Dhabi United group, City have spent close to £200m on players.

"We will not be signing players to the extent we have done in the past year," City executive chairman Garry Cook told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National.

"Our academy will be the focus for the next 12 months."

Since the takeover of the club in September 2008 by the group headed by Sheikh Mansour, City have paid large transfer fees for the likes of Robinho, Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Joleon Lescott.

However, having assembled a squad he believes can now "challenge the best in the Premier League", Cook has promised to channel resources into other areas of the club's infrastructure.

When you are blessed with the ownership that we have, true pragmatists, patient and sensible business people, then we should encourage people like that into our world because it can only better the league

Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook

"Now we can go back and do what we have been doing so well, and over-invest with coaches, staffing, sports science, the whole thing," he said. "The youth development is huge for us. We have already done a few things in this area that will bear fruit."

Former Manchester United assistant coach Brian Kidd has been recruited as technical development manager and will oversee the club's youth system whilst Andy Welsh, formerly an integral part of Leeds United's youth development, will run City's own domestic academy.

City will also have an international branch of their youth development, based in Abu Dhabi and led by their former academy director Jim Cassell.

Last week, the Premier League announced new rules to govern the use of home-grown players and club's finances.

From next season, top flight clubs will be required to list eight home-grown players in a squad of 25, placing greater emphasis on the need to produce top-quality young talent.

In recent years, City's academy has produced a number of players who have gone on to represent the first team including Shaun Wright-Phillips, Micah Richards and Michael Johnson.

606: DEBATE

Clubs are now also at risk of punishment should they fail to prove they are financially stable.

City would have no problem satisfying such criteria but the announcement of these regulations has once again brought the large sums of money being spent by clubs in pursuit of silverware into the spotlight.

Cook has been quick to defend City's approach in the wake of criticism levelled at the club and its wealthy owners.

"I find that criticism and opinion should be based on fact," stated Cook. "If you know all the facts then only then can you have a highly-educated opinion.

"When you are blessed with the ownership that we have, true pragmatists, patient and sensible business people, then we should encourage people like that into our world because it can only better the league."

In particular, Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has criticised the City model as unsustainable but Cook is adamant that the approach being adopted at Eastlands is the right one.

"Nobody knows what our business model is and everyone is assuming that it is the one they think it is," added Cook. "We know what we are doing over the next five years. Tom Hicks doesn't.

"He has his own football club that he's got his ambitions for, we respect that. I don't know whether the criticism is jealousy or fear, but maybe it's the unknown. No one is sure how it will all pan out."



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see also
Clubs agree to 'home-grown' quota
15 Sep 09 |  Premier League
Kidd given Man City academy role
07 Sep 09 |  Man City
Lescott completes Man City move
25 Aug 09 |  Man City
Adebayor finalises Man City move
18 Jul 09 |  Man City
Man City pledge to keep spending
17 Jul 09 |  Man City
Man City to stick with youth plan
08 Sep 08 |  Man City
Arab group agrees Man City deal
01 Sep 08 |  Man City


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