Man City might be able to learn a valuable lesson from Manchester United’s transfer business
Manchester City get a lot of things right in the transfer market – rarely has a player joined the club and failed to impress – but Manchester United’s handling of James Garner could prompt the Blues to adopt a different approach when it comes to their youngsters.
Before the start of every season, there is a point where supporters have a discussion on which youngsters should mix it with the first team next season, and who should be sent out on loan. There is usually a crop of players who look certain to enjoy a season elsewhere, but City also like to give certain prospects the chance to make a name for themselves amongst such a star-studded squad.
Phil Foden is the most obvious example, but last season, the emergence of Cole Palmer was exciting to watch and he will certainly have a lot more to offer in the next 12 months. It seems the same path has been formed for James McAtee, another creative midfielder who recently signed a contract extension at the Etihad Stadium.
However, there is a case for a few more players going out on loan next season to force their way into Pep Guardiola’s plans through their performances.
That’s been the case at United, particularly with Garner. The 21-year-old – who has featured on pre-season tours with United – made the loan switch to Nottingham Forest this season to enjoy regular game-time.
His move has been a great success, despite Forest lounging in the relegation zone earlier this season. A change of manager and system has brought the best out of Garner and he played a vital role in securing promotion. Their place in the Premier League was confirmed with a play-off final victory over Huddersfield Town on Sunday, and it was perhaps fitting that Garner’s cross was the one that caused Levi Colwill to divert the ball into his own goal.
City have used the Championship before – it’s not a completely alien concept to them. Tommy Doyle enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at Cardiff in the second half of the season, while Taylor Harwood-Bellis has enjoyed stints at Blackburn and Stoke.
But, despite all their failings at present, City could actually learn from United’s success in this department and send some of their brightest sparks to test themselves in England’s second tier. Palmer and McAtee may be considered part of the first team, but the likes of Kayky, Luke Mbete and CJ Egan-Riley could hugely impress if given regular game-time.
Such is the quality of City’s academy, there would surely be a whole host of clubs willing to bring in some hungry youth talent, so it is something the Blues hierarchy may consider. Even looking further down the English pyramid, the successful loans of Callum Doyle at Sunderland and Gavin Bazunu at Portsmouth will surely provide even more encouragement.