Manchester City Academy Sales GFX GOAL

More than £260m in just six years! How Manchester City have already covered the cost of their academy by selling graduates

In 2014, Manchester City finally opened the doors on their brand new, state-of-the-art training ground, the City Football Academy. Costing an estimated £200 million ($249m) it boasts 16 full size pitches, an indoor pitch, a stadium for its youth and women's teams, multiple gyms and a hydrotherapy facility.

"It is the best facility in the world," said then manager Manuel Pellegrini. "We have all that you need to work in every sense. I am sure it is a very big step for this club to continue growing every day as they want."

As well as giving the first team the tools they needed for their future assaults on the Premier League and Champions League, the new facility had the aim of developing the City players of the future. At the time it opened, no player from City's youth set up had gone on to make a first team debut since Sheikh Mansour had bought the club in 2008.

"We are already seeing results from investment in our academy in recent years," said chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak. "The development of homegrown youth talent into first-team players – a stated aim at the time of the club’s acquisition – remains an achievable ambition in the years ahead."

Nine years on and that objective has certainly been met, with Phil Foden one of City's most important players and Rico Lewis making his way in the team, recently signing a new contract until 2028. The academy has also had another benefit: earning the club fabulous amounts of money through player sales.

Since 2017, City have earned more than £260m ($324m) in selling youngsters, comfortably paying off the cost of building the academy, which is located a stone's throw from the Etihad Stadium, and giving the club a tidy profit which it is only going to build on. In the last year alone, City have pocketed £156m ($194m) in young players, allowing Pep Guardiola to replenish his squad with top talents from abroad and staying well within financial fair play limits.

As well as ensuring the club stays financially sustainable, City's academy is building the future England team. Ten of the players called up by Lee Carsley for the under-21 team's upcoming Euro 2025 qualifiers came through the club's academy, while four players led the Young Lions to win the under-21 European Championship in Georgia in the summer.

GOAL takes a look at the biggest success stories of City's highly productive academy...

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