One of the most common complaints that tend to arise when old clubs receive new money, is that this cash infusion will kill the development of some of the younger talent at the club. When your club’s snapping up some of the best talent in the world, how is a 19-year-old, with potential, but little experience supposed to establish himself? It’s a difficult situation and it’s not clear yet that any of the big money clubs have struck a good balance in this regard.
Take for instance, I prime example of this discrepancy: former Manchester City star, Adam Johnson. The young England star spent three seasons with Man City, attempting to establish himself as a first teamer. Eventually, however, he realized that the best thing he could do for his career would be to move on and he’s found a new home at Sunderland.
In three seasons at the Etihad, Johnson made 97 appearances, many of which were as a substitute. At 25-years-old, he made a sensible decision to revive his career by joining a club that could afford him ample game time. Whilst he’s yet to really announce himself at Sunderland, you get the feeling he’s going to be a smart addition for Martin O’Neil’s side.
Johnson has since spoken out about his time at Manchester City and recommended that young players try to stay clear of the Etihad:
“When City come in for you, it is hard to say no. I was in that situation a couple of years ago. I would probably advise young English players, you probably won’t get the chance to play as much as you would like.
“As you can see, it has turned out that way as well with recent signings. It is difficult. It is excellent when a club like City come for you and you’re going to play for the champions, but you don’t actually play for the champions. You’re a squad member, it’s totally different. Now, if I was a young lad, I probably wouldn’t go to City.” (Source: Yahoo Sports).
Johnson is the voice of experience in this department. There’s no telling just how good Adam Johnson would be had he signed for a club like Sunderland instead of Man City and got regular game time. In that respect, I agree with Johnson’s sentiment. Only top quality young talent like Mario Balotelli can expect regular game time. The rest tend to get left by the wayside.
It’s not just the appeal of playing for the Champions. There’s a monetary reward that comes with playing for City too. It’s this that young players have to avoid if they really want to further their careers.
When it comes to City, it’s not as easy as choosing your career, or choosing to grab a ton of cash. There can be happier mediums – it’s just a rarity nowadays.
What’s your take? Is Manchester City a bad place for young talent to go?
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