Vieira: FFP would not stop Manchester City buying Falcao

The Premier League champions' development executive says there will be no repeat at club of lavish spending of last three years but there is still room for "exceptional" players
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Patrick Vieira insists Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules will not prevent Manchester City from trying to sign “exceptional” players like Radamel Falcao.

The City development executive said there will be no repeat of the lavish spending of the last three years as the club concentrate on producing “the majority” of their own first-teamers.

But Vieira explained that there will still be room for the Premier League champions to sign marquee players.

City have been strongly linked with Falcao this week after manager Roberto Mancini travelled to the Spanish capital to watch the striker in action for Atletico Madrid last Sunday.

Asked by about Falcao, former City and Arsenal midfielder Vieira said: “That is the manager's call, you never know, but our philosophy will be to try to bring in young players from the academy.

“Clubs like us, United, Chelsea, Arsenal will always try and bring in one exceptional player because that is the way it is, but the majority we want to come from the academy. We are talking about a project over the next 10-15 years.”

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo has opened the floodgates for an approach for Falcao by claiming the club would have no option but to sell their prize asset if the Colombian’s €60 million (£48.3m) buy-out clause is met.

Vieira explained that City’s future strategy will differ from the one which saw £1 billion spent on transforming the club into Premier League champions following Abu Dhabi’s 2008 takeover.

Speaking at the launch of the 'PASS' education scheme, Vieira said: “As a club we want to produce our own players rather than buy them in in their 20s. This is the future, partly because of FFP, partly because it is good for fans to identify with boys from the academy.

“We have a vision, a plan. In the next few years we want to bring in our young players from the academy. In the last three years we wanted to build a club quick so we could challenge United, Arsenal and Chelsea. We had to buy the best in the market. Now we go to the second phase where we want to use our academy, which is why we are building one of the best in the world.”

Vieira said the key is for City to develop home-grown talent from the age of eight as well as prising the best youngsters from abroad before they sign professional contracts.
One recent example is Jose Angel Pozo, the highly-rated young striker who joined from Real Madrid on his 16th birthday in March.

“He is 16 and came on yesterday [Tuesday] in the Under-21 league, so that says everything about how good he is. I believe that comes from coaching from grass roots up. It is not because he has been at City for a few months that we have made him the player he is now.  

“We helped him to develop but from the age of eight or nine years old there has been a better programme than the one there is in the UK.
“There is a difference today between a young 16-year-old from Spain or France or Holland and the England one. The difference can be tactics, technique or the understanding of the game.”

Vieira said City’s challenge is to develop the best youngsters into first-team players.

“I spend every Wednesday evening when I am not travelling at the Academy with the eight to 12-year-olds. I can tell you there is talent and a lot of talent.
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“If you have a group of 20 really talented players at that age, if you don't get five involved in the first team that means we have done something wrong and not coached them the way we were supposed to. Does that mean our system is not good?
“When you have a good nine-year-old, you have to improve that talent year after year. You get to the point where he is not good enough, you have to ask how come you lost him. It means there must be something wrong in our system.
“As a football club you want to develop players [rather than the FA do it]. You have the players from 8-16 so you know what you need to improve, but the big problem in this country is we have been losing a lot of players from the age of 18-21 because the games programme was not good enough.

“That is how you lost so many players. At that age the only big games are at international level but you do not play enough of those to be challenged or try to improve, because that is the best way to see where you are. Having the Under-21 league is making things more positive for the English game.”

Patrick Vieira is an ambassador for Western Union's new PASS initiative, turning every pass in this season's UEFA Europa League into funding for one day's education for young people around the world, visit

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