MAN CITY TO FOL­LOW WENGER’S EX­AM­PLE

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODWINES - BY MARK OG­DEN

MANCH­ESTER CITY plan to adopt the Arsene Wenger model of iden­ti­fy­ing young tal­ent and shap­ing them into first-team play­ers.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Garry Cook in­sists that con­tin­ual buy­ing at the ex­pense of de­vel­op­ing home-grown prod­ucts is the “an­tithe­sis of what we’re try­ing to do”.

Man­ager Mark Hughes has spent al­most £200-mil­lion on new sign­ings since owner Sheikh Man­sour’s ar­rival at East­lands in Septem­ber 2008, in­clud­ing a Bri­tish record £32.5m on Robinho as part of the City revo­lu­tion.

Hav­ing forged a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the Premier League’s best pro­duc­ers of young tal­ent, how­ever, City are de­ter­mined not to al­low the next gen­er­a­tion of play­ers like Micah Richards, Shaun WrightPhillips and Stephen Ire­land to be edged out by a con­veyor-belt of ex­pen­sive sign­ings.

Se­nior of­fi­cials at East­lands be­lieve that Arse­nal man­ager Wenger, who has suc­cess­fully un­earthed the likes of Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabre­gas and Gael Clichy dur­ing his time at the club, has set the per­fect model for City to em­u­late.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Cook said: “That is ab­so­lutely (a model to as­pire to) be­cause, fi­nan­cially, it’s a bet­ter model than one where you get into ne­go­ti­at­ing a mar­ket price that has no pre-de­ter­min­ing fac­tors other than sup­ply and de­mand.

“That’s a model I don’t sub­scribe to and one I don’t want to be be­holden to,” he added. “I would rather con­trol or man­age our des­tiny over the long-term.

“What we are clear on is that we don’t think there will be an­other cou­ple of win­dows like we have just been through.

“And I think you’re go­ing to see Manch­ester City re­ally ramp up its ac­tiv­ity in the youth area, in the de­vel­op­ment area of play­ers.

“There’s of­ten opin­ion that we are just go­ing to keep buy­ing play­ers, but that’s ac­tu­ally the an­tithe- sis of what we’re try­ing to do.”

While Cook con­cedes that City may yet have to add to their squad by re­cruit­ing again in Jan­uary, he claims that the club are now in a much stronger po­si­tion to com­pete on a global ba­sis.

“A year ago, we didn’t re­ally have a scouting net­work,” he added. “We now have 12 peo­ple em­ployed by the club work­ing world­wide.

“That’s go­ing to start to pay off as we go for­ward, but when you talk about this Jan­uary, I don’t think we are ready for all those plans yet,.

“But if we are mak­ing any ad­di­tions it will be to strengthen the ex­ist­ing squad,” he con­cluded. – The Tele­graph.

YOUTH­FUL: City’s Mark Hughes

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