x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

City defend their stance

Manchester City's transfer spree is over and the club will now invest money in developing young players and bringing in the best coaches.

Manchester City's transfer spree is over and the club will now invest money in developing young players and bringing in the best coaches. That is the declaration from Garry Cook, the executive chairman, who has helped assemble a squad that, he believes, can "challenge the best in the Premier League".

Speaking in the wake of new rules governing finances and home-grown players in the English Premier League, Cook said other clubs should stop referring to City when the debate concerning irresponsible spending in football arises. "I find that criticism and opinion should be based on fact," said 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."

From next season Premier League clubs will have to prove they are financially stable in order to be allowed to compete - a test City would pass with flying colours. However, they will also have to list eight home-grown players in a squad of 25 and even though they would be able to do this, they know it is vital that more young players come through the ranks. The club are overhauling the youth system set-up. Brian Kidd, the former Manchester United assistant coach, has been recruited as technical development manager and will oversee the club's youth system. Jim Cassell has left his position as academy director and will run the international branch of the club's academy in Abu Dhabi.

Andy Welsh, the former head of the Leeds academy which produced England internationals Aaron Lennon and James Milner, has replaced Cassell and he will head up the academy at their base in Platt Lane, Manchester. And Cook has promised more resources will now be spent on other areas of the club's infrastructure, including the scouting network. "Now we have a squad that can challenge the best in the Premier League, 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.

"We see ourselves over-investing in this area and you will find we will not be signing players to the extent we have done in the past year. Our academy will be the focus for the next 12 months." The announcement of the new Premier League requirements once again brought into the spotlight the huge amount clubs are spending on attempting to either win silverware or merely survive in the league. Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks claims the City model, funded by Sheikh Mansour, is "unsustainable", but Cook feels the top four sides are unsettled at the prospect of their hegemony being broken.

"Nobody knows what our business model is and everyone is assuming that it is the one they think it is," he said. "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." akhan@thenational.ae

Adebayor out of derby, s3