The Premier League has become dominated by teams whose stars are mostly imports — Tottenham being the exception. While the price of English players skyrockets with the pressing need for home-grown talent, many teams seem to forget the ones already on their books.
Patrick Roberts moved to Manchester City from Fulham for £12.75million in 2015, a rather large fee for an 18-year old playing in the Championship, and has only made one league appearance for the Citizens thus far.
The English winger has spent the past season and a half at Celtic, where his 11 goals and 19 assists this term helped lead the Scottish treble winners to an undefeated league season. Roberts’ form has caught the eye of many Premier League clubs, but he is rumoured to be close to wrapping up a permanent transfer to Celtic.
But what about his current club?
The winger is definitely good enough to play for City and would fill the spot opened up if Nolito returns to Spain. Pep Guardiola has said that he wants to bring youth players into the first team and that he wants to create a City side with English players at the heart, but he seems to believe more in the transfer market than the club’s academy and loan network.
City fans will certainly not complain about signing players like Bernardo Silva, but the frustration regarding the club’s academy continues to mount. If a player like Patrick Roberts doesn’t have a chance to break into the team, especially after a fantastic loan spell, then what is the hope for the club’s other youngsters?
The winger has the potential to become an England international sooner rather than later and is at a stage in his development where playing time is key, so a move to Celtic makes some sense.
There is little doubt, however, that he could be a rotational player at City and to sell him now sends a poor message to English loan players. No matter how good you may perform on loan, your club may still prefer to buy a £40million import than give you a first team opportunity.