By Greg Stobart
Manchester City will make Attilio Lombardo their reserve team manager as part of a summer shake-up of the club’s backroom operations.
Andy Welsh has been sacked from his role in charge of the Elite Development Squad and replaced by Lombardo as part of a root-and-branch restructuring ordered by the Abu Dhabi owners and supported by manager Roberto Mancini.
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City have brought in scouts Sebastian Arnesen and Jan Ricka - both of whom used to work for Chelsea - as they look to improve their scouting network, with the latter, in particular, considered an expert in Eastern European countries including Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Their arrivals follow the resignation of Mike Rigg as technical director in April, while senior scouts Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter have left City for roles at Liverpool.
Goal.com revealed in April that City were planning an overhaul of their backroom operations, which could have repercussions for the executive, management, commercial and recruitment arms of the club.
Mancini is believed to have had an influence in some of the changes to the football side of the club, not least the decision to make Lombardo, who is already a member of the coaching staff, manager of the second string.
City use their reserves - now called the Elite Development Squad - to nurture young talent and as a stepping stone to the first team.
The club’s Abu Dhabi owners are eager to focus on the Academy and youth recruitment in the belief that it will save the club millions of pounds in the long-term and help them fall in line with Uefa’s financial fair play regulations.
The NextGen series - an Under-19s ‘Champions League’ for top European clubs - is considered an important measure of progress within the club’s youth ranks and a big improvement is expected on last season’s performance, which saw City lose all six of their matches in the competition.