Underinvestment in Players

Shadydan

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If we're going to be that picky then Kane's been with us for far longer than the new training ground which was only completed in 2012. Kane joined us in 2004 I think. If it weren't for Poch believing in him it was highly likely that he would've been playing for someone else. But that's besides the point.

What I'm trying to say is that our academy seems to have lost it's way similar to how we've forgotten to do succession planning for the first team. We seem to be resting on our laurels (in players such as Kane, Mason, Bentaleb, Winks - all of whom were with us prior to the new training ground) and facilities rather than attracting potential talent. Again my earlier statement was about the over emphasis on the facilities rather than the personnel.
Right so a couple of things with this...

We didn't build the training ground to attract players to the club - a training ground won't do that, wages do that. We built the training ground and invested in the academy to improve and develop players therefore our investment in infrastructure isn't meaningless because the players have a far better environment (facilities/coaches) to improve. So whether Kane was signed before the academy was built is neither here nor there because like many players it has helped aid his improvement to the first team and become the player that he is.

Whether we have youth players ready to break into the first team right now is highly irrelevant because we didn't build the academy solely for now, we also invested to help bring players through in the past such as Mason, Bentaleb, Carroll, Townsend, CCV, Onomah, Edwards, Livermore and players in the future. Not all players are going to make it into the first team - this is the reality of the situation. If, then we sell those players who eventually don't quite make it with us then the investment has come to fruition because we've made our money back on them and then some. Unfortunately we're not going to produce fairy tale stories such as La Masia or Ajax Academy where we constantly churn our potential world class players - it doesn't work like that.

If you cite Chelsea and Man City having the best youth academies in the country which I'm not disagreeing but the reason why they have the best academies in the country is down to one thing - money. They have setup scouting systems all over the UK and Europe and the money they pay means that they can attract young players to their club and have the monopoly on the market. This is something we cannot compete with because we don't have the money to give young players and their families ridiculous incentives and high wages.

The point I'm making is that there is a huge purpose of the academy and it's an undoubted success because of the players it has aided in turn for profit or who we currently have in our team who have benefited from the solid infrastructure in place, just because we don't have players on the verge of first team football doesn't mean that the project hasn't gone to plan, we have already reaped the benefits of that it brings and we look forward to more success stories in the future.
 

spuradik

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therefore our investment in infrastructure isn't meaningless
If you read my original comment it was conditional upon us getting quality talent to go with that infrastructure. Players who can then utilize the facilities to their fullest extent. Which is why I specifically said "it becomes meaningless" not that it is meaningless altogether. I'm not in the same camp as people who suggest that we shouldn't have built the stadium or the training facilities. I realize their importance in the long term sustainability of the club, but when you don't pair this with the right potential by investing money in the human element it does start to beg the question as to the point of building them in the first place.

The reason I keep emphasizing the player aspect is because although a great environment like our training facility may improve players to a certain degree, it's not going to suddenly transform average players into world beaters. If that was the case, Winks would've been playing like Busquets (not a swipe at Winks, think he's a solid squad player). Examples like Kane are down to the player rather than the facility. I'm not discounting the benefits of the new training ground, but I think we're giving it a tad more credit than is due.

But I agree with you wholeheartedly with your point about money. Money is everything. It doesn't matter what state your training facilities are in or how great your stadium is or what your position is in the league or whether you're in the CL. If you show them the money, they will come.

Not all players are going to make it into the first team - this is the reality of the situation...
I also agree with this; the fact that not all who graduate will make it to the first team. But a well run academy should at the very least produce a player capable of making the first team every couple years. I don't think that's too much to ask.

we also invested to help bring players through in the past such as Mason, Bentaleb, Carroll, Townsend, CCV, Onomah, Edwards, Livermore and players in the future...
There's 2 interesting observations here:
- First, the fact that aside from skipp, none of the academy players signed post construction of the new facility, i.e. 2012 are anywhere near getting into the first team. All the players you listed were signed before construction. This indicates a stark shift in our academy management. It's almost like we took our eye off the very thing that makes it successful; recruitment of talented youth players
- Second, all the players listed had extended runs in the first team. Their experience playing in the first team was one of the primary reasons we were able to sell them on. Which brings me back to my original point. If we don't have a queue of players knocking on the first team door, ready for that level of football, then how do we recoup our investment in them if it doesn't work out for them with us in the long term. The lack of players coming through our academy tells me that we're seriously lacking in that department.

Now while we couldn't compete with City and Chelsea, with the completion of our new stadium and the numerous partnerships, sponsorships on top of naming rights should certainly give us a fighting chance* . We may miss out on a few targets but that doesn't mean that we're going to lose out on signing some of the best talent that is available out there. Moreover, it's not like we need to be signing or hoarding a 100 academy players like Chelsea. There'll be opportunities for us but we need to be ready to pay that premium when the time comes. Again, this goes back to my original point that we've invested in facilities but forgotten to invest in the right resources, which in this case as you mention is hiring good scouts and coaches who in turn will help us recruit excellent talent whom we can pay decent and competitive wages.

Look, the market has changed significantly over the past few years where initially most of the money was in recruiting first team players but now has also taken over the academy level as well. But you know what, at the end of the day, it is still the same market for everyone. We fight for the same players Dortmund do, but the difference between the level of planning and investment is night and day between us.

The fact of the matter is that a large part of our fan base has up until now been conditioned to believe that we can't compete, when it is rather a matter of us not wanting to compete when it comes to player investment. We are the 10th richest football club in the world, richer than the richest club in Italy, i.e. Juventus. But we act like a Championship club when it comes to player recruitment. So if we want our infrastructure investment to count, then we need to go out there and invest money in good talented people that can make our club perform better.


*paying off the stadium is a separate debate but suffice to say we'll have that covered and then some. We've already paid off our training ground including NDP Phase I. NDP phase II (stadium, ticket office, shop, etc.) is what we're on the hook for.
 

vegassd

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The fact of the matter is that a large part of our fan base has up until now been conditioned to believe that we can't compete, when it is rather a matter of us not wanting to compete when it comes to player investment. We are the 10th richest football club in the world, richer than the richest club in Italy, i.e. Juventus. But we act like a Championship club when it comes to player recruitment. So if we want our infrastructure investment to count, then we need to go out there and invest money in good talented people that can make our club perform better.
Really liked your post, apart from maybe a bit of the wording in this bit - if fans see things a different way to you it might be that they have made their own opinions rather than being "conditioned" - but that's just semantics I guess. I also think that your last sentence very nicely sums up the position of the club at the moment.

I think that the infrastructure stuff can largely be looked at as removing hurdles for our future rather than being a silver bullet. A necessary evil of the big money game. I could imagine if we offered £100m for Isco, offered the player £250k per week and even bunged the agent a healthy fee, the player might come to visit and take one look at the old stadium/training ground and decide he doesn't fancy it. This won't be the same for all players of course, but I think it will be a factor for some.

There will be a tonne of other benefits - particularly from the stadium - but I personally think that investment will never be a waste because it will sit as a milestone for our club moving itself into the modern era.

What it also does is lay out our future spending habits quite starkly. There will no longer be a development project that needs funding (and I agree, let's keep stadium debt separate for now!) and so our board will/should be focused on the human investment side... both first teamers, youth players, back room staff and scouts. It won't all be successes but I for one would like to see a increase of efforts on those fronts.

The pace of change is probably the great divide between the two sides of the spending debate in my view, which is funny because such a small thing sparks such bizarre arguments! I agree with you that the market is the same for us as for others, but I think the context of our club is different, in terms of financial timing at least. So Dortmund may be more focused than us on player development right now, but they aren't having to balance the books in the same way we are regarding the stadium right now.

It's not an excuse - I believe we could/should have done a bit more these last couple of years regardless - but more of a caveat. A caveat that says when we judge things like player investment we should be wary of the overall context and perhaps judge not just on money spent over a 12 month period (for example) but the capability of our playing squad over a 36 month period. I think that fits with the idea of investing in people in order to fully capitalise on the investment in infrastructure.
 

buckley

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I have been one of Levy's staunchest supporters and I feel he has done everything right up to now however this is the time it has come to" get off the pot or shit" . We as a club now have a great stadium a great training ground and everything in place to take the next step namely heavy investment in the side and in so doing back Poch. If it is said "well we have a debt of 627 million £ ." then another £200 million on top of that debt is not going to be earth shattering because as has been explained the debt is easily manageable.
He should be able to supply a substantial pot of transfer fund by getting rid of the deadwood and selling a couple of players no longer up to the standard a topclub requires plus it was reported we made £167 million profit last year.
Three or four top quality players added to what we have already will in my opinion make us able to challenge until next seasons end and not fade in the final straight.So Daniel pay up or the anti Levy guys will be proven right all along.
 

worcestersauce

"I'm no optimist I'm just a prisoner of hope
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Interesting that people use Chelsea as an example to follow to attract youngsters to our academy when they have had a two window transfer ban slapped on them because the way they attract youngsters is illegal.
 

buckley

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City are not far behind Chelsea in sweeping up all the worldwide talent its as much as they can afford to pay much higher wages than other clubs for young players than other clubs can and it has two benefits one being the profits for sell on of these players is immense and because they are scooping up the best youngsters so the failure rate is less than at a normal youth academy .
Two. it stops other clubs getting there hands on them and as an afterthought they seem to want to tell them when they do leave who they can or cannot sign for.
I must say tho that there has been players who have said "no ..you don't want me you are not going to tell me who I can play for"
I believe that was the case with Sancho and another city lad who's name I can't remember it is something like Mutado.
Chelsea have had the striker who signed on a free to Liverpool and Odoi who wants to go to Bayern and so maybe these youngsters are getting wise to the fact that they are just human farm produce when you sign for City or Chelsea.
Would you if you had a son who was good enough to play as a pro would you have him take the money or go to a club that actively try to improve them as a player with the aim to play for that club.?
 

spuradik

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Really liked your post, apart from maybe a bit of the wording in this bit - if fans see things a different way to you it might be that they have made their own opinions rather than being "conditioned" - but that's just semantics I guess. I also think that your last sentence very nicely sums up the position of the club at the moment.
Reading this, in hindsight, I can see how it could be interpreted that way. Thanks for pointing it out.

Just to clarify, I was alluding to the fact that generally when we're linked with some big name players, the ITK (who I see as a communications backchannel for the club) come out with defeatist messages that we can't compete or afford their wages etc, which in their defense maybe true to a certain degree. Although, IMO that reason is not always the case but is still excessively used. This has been happening for as long as I can remember. It's the same every season. So much so that when we're linked, even before the ITK come out to confirm or shoot it down, our fans automatically dismiss it. Then we go into these endless debates about our financial health trying to justify the clubs actions.

The thing about data is that it can be spun in different ways to fit a narrative. For example, when Levy touts the NDP development, he uses the total project figure for ~800Million-1Billion, which isn't incorrect but it's misleading. It leads fans to believe that that is the amount we owe, when in fact we've already covered and paid for the first Phase. With different figures thrown out each day, particularly by the media who are blatantly misinformed, you can see how easily it muddles the financial picture. Couple that with our recent partnerships (NFL, Audi, etc), sponsorships (Nike, etc), stadium naming rights (hopefully soon), TV licensing rights, (future) non-footballing events etc., we don't exactly know the sum of our projected revenues compared to our expenditures. But suffice it to say, I'm more than confident that Levy has that aspect of the business covered very well. Yet the unofficial club line is that we're skint: one year its lack of CL money, the other its Stadium construction, and another its because the market has changed.

With ENIC buying back a substantial amount of shares, it lessens the requirements for financial transparency. This means there is a lot less information to analyze and evaluate. It also makes it a quite easy for them to come up with excuses when we come up short in the transfer windows. I'm not saying that the club (or Levy for that matter) are actively lying, they're simply not forthcoming and transparent in their reasoning when it comes to our lack of investment in players which raises doubts about their long term intentions. Their messaging through unofficial PR channels during transfer windows with seemingly ludicrous excuses only sets up to divide the fan base (BSoDLs vs anti ENIC).

So,yeah, it wasn't mean as a snide at our fan base just that the club have followed an unhealthy pattern particularly during transfer windows, which in turn has led most of us fans to lower expectations to a level where we've (including me) become almost cynical about new signings. In that context, 'conditioned' was probably not the right word.
 
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worcestersauce

"I'm no optimist I'm just a prisoner of hope
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City are not far behind Chelsea in sweeping up all the worldwide talent its as much as they can afford to pay much higher wages than other clubs for young players than other clubs can and it has two benefits one being the profits for sell on of these players is immense and because they are scooping up the best youngsters so the failure rate is less than at a normal youth academy .
Two. it stops other clubs getting there hands on them and as an afterthought they seem to want to tell them when they do leave who they can or cannot sign for.
I must say tho that there has been players who have said "no ..you don't want me you are not going to tell me who I can play for"
I believe that was the case with Sancho and another city lad who's name I can't remember it is something like Mutado.
Chelsea have had the striker who signed on a free to Liverpool and Odoi who wants to go to Bayern and so maybe these youngsters are getting wise to the fact that they are just human farm produce when you sign for City or Chelsea.
Would you if you had a son who was good enough to play as a pro would you have him take the money or go to a club that actively try to improve them as a player with the aim to play for that club.?
I don't think that's correct about Sancho, he didn't want to go to Dortmund, City wanted to keep him and wouldn't let him go where he wanted and he settled for Dortmund, not a bad choice for him in the end but he didn't actually ask for them.
The best example of the lot is Danny Rose when he was tapped up by Chelsea as a youngster, him and two other Leeds academy players, chelsea offered them a bung the other two took it and Danny went straight to the Leeds board, Chelsea were fined Danny stayed at Leeds and eventually joined us, the other two went to Chelsea and were never heard of again.
 

buckley

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I may have misunderstood some of their dealings but the principle is still valid and that is that Chelsea and to a lesser extent City have no intention of training these players up for first team duty but to make them into players good enough to make a huge profit on when selling on even allowing for compared to most clubs they offer wages that cannot be met.
I still believe that it is farming of young players and they can do it because they do not have to balance books as their owners are filthy rich and will always think of new ways to circumvent FFP rules. As Wenger said long ago its financial doping and its easy to sponsor a toilet brush for millions of pounds a year .I am being sarcastic but you get my drift.
There way forward is buy the best and most expensive players in the world and the young are there to supply the finance for this venture.
 

worcestersauce

"I'm no optimist I'm just a prisoner of hope
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I may have misunderstood some of their dealings but the principle is still valid and that is that Chelsea and to a lesser extent City have no intention of training these players up for first team duty but to make them into players good enough to make a huge profit on when selling on even allowing for compared to most clubs they offer wages that cannot be met.
I still believe that it is farming of young players and they can do it because they do not have to balance books as their owners are filthy rich and will always think of new ways to circumvent FFP rules. As Wenger said long ago its financial doping and its easy to sponsor a toilet brush for millions of pounds a year .I am being sarcastic but you get my drift.
There way forward is buy the best and most expensive players in the world and the young are there to supply the finance for this venture.
Absolutely right it is a meat market sideline run entirely to make money plus they loan them out and get their wages subsidised.
 

SamR

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I've thought it for a long-time and still believe we are positioning ourselves to be acquired in the next 2-3 years. Likely to a US company.

I suspect we will be raising the same concerns for a few season's longer. My hope is that Levy looks at next season and considers player investment as a means to yielding a better sale valuation (we need CL football) and increases spend. We are in real danger of slipping back to 4-6 as the team doesn't look like it can grow any further.
 

spursfan77

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I don't think that's correct about Sancho, he didn't want to go to Dortmund, City wanted to keep him and wouldn't let him go where he wanted and he settled for Dortmund, not a bad choice for him in the end but he didn't actually ask for them.
The best example of the lot is Danny Rose when he was tapped up by Chelsea as a youngster, him and two other Leeds academy players, chelsea offered them a bung the other two took it and Danny went straight to the Leeds board, Chelsea were fined Danny stayed at Leeds and eventually joined us, the other two went to Chelsea and were never heard of again.
One of them was called Woods, I forget the other. I remember the case but didn’t realise Danny rose was involved too.
 

double0

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City are not far behind Chelsea in sweeping up all the worldwide talent its as much as they can afford to pay much higher wages than other clubs for young players than other clubs can and it has two benefits one being the profits for sell on of these players is immense and because they are scooping up the best youngsters so the failure rate is less than at a normal youth academy .
Two. it stops other clubs getting there hands on them and as an afterthought they seem to want to tell them when they do leave who they can or cannot sign for.
I must say tho that there has been players who have said "no ..you don't want me you are not going to tell me who I can play for"
I believe that was the case with Sancho and another city lad who's name I can't remember it is something like Mutado.
Chelsea have had the striker who signed on a free to Liverpool and Odoi who wants to go to Bayern and so maybe these youngsters are getting wise to the fact that they are just human farm produce when you sign for City or Chelsea.
Would you if you had a son who was good enough to play as a pro would you have him take the money or go to a club that actively try to improve them as a player with the aim to play for that club.?
Unfortunately a lot of parents will take the money now....you hear ridiculous amounts of money some of the top youth players are earning at Man City and Chelsea , the cars houses and education thrown in for good measure to other family members. I don't blame some. Chelsea especially have been pretty cleaver with the loaning fee's they're charging for players.
 

beats1

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Better team? Probably not many at all.
Better squad balance and depth is more our downfall.
Go to the other forums and all the teams will be saying how they don't have depth in certain positions and have no balance like Liverpool having no RB's bar TAA, no strikers and etc. or United saying Jones isn't good enough.
 

onthetwo

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can we re-name this 'squad overhall' or is there a thread for that already?
Agents must be licking their lips to get in front of Levy.....
 
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