Man City owner Sheikh Mansour planning to build Barcelona-type youth academy

Updated: Sep 14, 2012, 19:49 PM IST

London: Manchester City’s billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour is planning to emulate Barcelona’s endless supply of home-grown players such as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta through their famed youth academy, by preparing one such academy of their own.

City announced their construction partners for the 200 million pound state-of-the-art youth development academy and first-team training headquarters on an 80-acre site adjacent to the Etihad stadium on Thursday.

UEFA``s imminent financial fair-play regulations have added some urgency to the project, which BAM Construction have promised to complete for the start of the 2014-15 season. But City’s new chief executive, Ferran Soriano, a former Barcelona vice-president during the Joan Laporta era, insisted that, for all the club’s big transfer outlays, sustainability has always been owner’s watchword. "This is an extremely important day for the future of Manchester City," the Daily Express quoted Soriano, as saying.

"The development of young, home-grown players is central to our strategy of creating both a winning team and a sustainable football club - an ambition outlined by Sheikh Mansour at the outset of his ownership in September 2008," he added.

City have spent about 50 million pound over the past year alone simply preparing the site, closing down mine shafts and turning land polluted by years of industrial use into clean terrain.