Manchester City trying to rival elite academies with latest swoop

Manchester City have beaten off competition from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid to recruit Real Mallorca right-back Richard Dionkou, according to the Daily Mail.

What’s the story?

Two years ago, the two-time Premier League champions opened their new £200m high-tech academy complex.

Since then, the club have been trying to mold the new generation of footballers and it appears as though another teenager is due to arrive in the North-West of England.

The Daily Mail reports that 15-year-old right-back Dionkou will complete the season at Mallorca before joining up with the English club.

The youngster, who is expected to be part of City’s Under-18s squad, will not be able to sign a contract until he turns 16.

Europe’s elite, including Catalan giants Barcelona, were rumoured to have been keeping tabs on the teenager, but City have convinced him to join them.

Why Dionkou is important to City’s development…

The full-back is widely regarded as a promising talent given that he has a physical presence as well as quick feet, but his arrival signifies something bigger.

City have become a force in English football thanks to the full pockets of the club’s billionaire Abu Dhabi owners, but they are yet to prove it on the European stage.

Having a strong academy will give City the chance to compete with the likes of Barcelona, who pride themselves on producing young talent.

Let’s not forget, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi are among a number of high-profile footballers who learned and developed their craft with the Spanish giants.

City are showing that they intend to build from the bottom by recruiting Dionkou shortly after signing Finley Burns, 13, from Southend United and 15-year-old forward Nabil Touaizi.