Darko Gyabi is the latest symbol of Man City’s academy transformation – Simon Bajkowski

It’s not mean to say that many Manchester City fans won’t have heard of Darko Gyabi until Friday. Even if you’re particularly interested in academy sides, the former Millwall youngster spent the first half of last campaign injured on the sidelines before returning to the Under-23 side that won the U.S. title. Premier League 2 under manager Brian Barry-Murphy. .

And yet, Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign the 18-year-old midfielder for a fee of £5m. Despite not featuring in any first-team squad under Pep Guardiola, a Premier League club are willing to pay him a substantial fee.

It helps, of course, that the same club received £45m from City for Kalvin Phillips, but it reflects a change in the game in recent years that City’s academy have adapted to and are now helping the first strategy of crew. As well as having more players ready for the City first team, the academy has never been better at providing talent for the top flight.

Also read: Kalvin Phillips set for start of Man City pre-season camp after Leeds move

Selling academy youngsters for big bucks isn’t a recent phenomenon, and Brahim Diaz, Kelechi Iheanacho and Angus Gunn are some of the players who moved to big clubs for big bucks when he became clear that their time at City was over. It’s also not uncommon for bigger clubs to seek a bargain from other academies; City snapped up Liam Delap from Derby and Sam Edozie and Gyabi from Millwall, while Leeds were one of the clubs that took advantage of Wigan’s dire straits a few years ago by signing Joe Gelhardt for an incredibly low fee.

However, there has been a noticeable increase in recent years in the number of Premier League clubs doing what Bundesliga sides have recently specialized in and providing playing time for those in the top six academies who feel ready for football. high level. Southampton and Brighton have been the two sharpest for this, with Ralph Hasenhuttl winning the race to sign Tino Livramento from Chelsea last summer a year after Brighton signed Tariq Lamptey from Chelsea; their pair have also turned their attention to Manchester, with Brighton making a bid for playmaker James McAtee in January and Southampton signing goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu for an initial £12million this summer.

Thanks to the academy’s work in recent years, City have never had as many youngsters rated by Premier League clubs as they do today – and it’s giving them a boost in the transfer market than they don’t. had never had before. Such is the standard that has been set at City Football Academy, the clubs City seek to do business with can now inquire about the possibility of throwing a youngster into the mix knowing that the quality they are going to achieve while the player has the opportunity to start their Premier League career earlier than they could at the Etihad.

Gyabi fits this bill. A defensive midfielder who oozes class on the ball while also having an impressive physique for his age and a superb drive to support attack as well as defense is one of the many gems that have been developed in the academy, and the 18-year-old has already shown many of the qualities needed to have a very successful career in the game.

With City signing a £45million player in their position to add to Rodri who is already there, it makes sense for Gyabi to consider his options, but it’s a testament to his skills and the polish of his game that he can head on. directly to a prime minister. league club. There is still development to be done, but he has already gained a tremendous boost for his age.

City’s influence over the England national team has grown under Guardiola, with Gareth Southgate making full use of Etihad personnel and strategies. Thanks to the academy, as well as helping their transfer kitty, City’s influence on the English game is now growing as more of their graduates start to appear in the top flight.

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James V. Hayes