Pep Guardiola says Manchester City’s transfer plans for next season have already begun.
The Manchester City manager, together with sporting director Txiki Begiristain, are scouring the market for new players that will improve the team – and Guardiola says their focus will once again be on bringing top young talent to the Etihad Stadium.
City have signed Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Marlos Moreno and Oleksandr Zinchenko in the last two summer transfer windows, with the focus very much on bringing in players capable of helping the Club achieve their long-term objectives.
And in an exclusive interview with CityTV during the recent trip to Abu Dhabi, Guardiola says that policy will largely remain the same this summer.
“I am planning. Txiki is planning,” he said. “The staff is planning, of course. We have to have one eye on the short, the medium, the long term.
“We are buying for the long term. That’s why Leroy is here, why Raz is here and why Gabriel is here.
“All of them are 20 years old, except one or two cases when we need experience. The age is so important.
“Maybe we are going to buy a guy who is 28 or 29 years old because we are short in that position and he is going to give three or four important years. But of course, as young as possible is much better.
“Of course, that planning is underway.”
In addition to bringing young talent into the Club, Guardiola also revealed he also plans on promoting from within and says he will take around five of the Academy’s best prospects on tour with the senior squad this summer.
He has praised the work of the Club’s Academy staff and says he is impressed with the quality of the youngsters being produced at the City Football Academy (CFA).
He has outlined a group of players he feels are the most promising and they will be taken with the first team this summer in order to step up their development.
“I think Manchester City has to be so proud,” he said. “I am new here. I am really impressed with the work of the English people, who’ve worked for a long time here at the Academy.
“There are four or five players - of course they are young, only 16, 17 and 18-years-old – but that we would like to put on the field, protected with the manager and the experienced players, and play them, because I know how important it is for the fans to have people who grew up in the Academy.
“They have to know we are there [watching the Academy].
“We cannot put them in without the talent, if they are not able or willing to take on that challenge.
“But we are there and if they are good enough and they have a passion and they want to become something in Europe and world football, all the players in the Academy have to know, we are there.
“In the summer, four or five guys [young players] will come with us, but it is up to them.”