THE BLOG
17/06/2015 13:29 BST | Updated 17/06/2016 06:59 BST

Why Manchester City's Lack of Homegrowns Is Not the Crisis You Might Think

James Milner; gone. Frank Lampard; gone. Micah Richards; gone. Scott Sinclair; gone. Dedryck Boyata; gone. John Guidetti; also gone. These are the six homegrown players casually discarded by Manchester City this summer - only one of whom they had any intention of trying to keep.

The others (I was referring to Milner then, by the way) were either not good enough or not young enough, hence why the former Premier League champions scraped a mere £4m between them and four of the six departed on free transfers.

Left behind is a first-team pool of 20 (excluding Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo who left on loan and is not expected to return) with only Joe Hart, Gael Clichy and Richard Wright out of last season's squad qualifying as homegrown players, having been registered to English or Welsh clubs for the required 36 months prior to turning 21.

According to Premier League rules each team can name a maximum of 17 overseas players in its 25-man squad for the season, with the remaining eight spots left either to those who are homegrown or vacant. And based on the above calculations, City are full to the brim with foreigners.

If you believe the media - and fans of other clubs - this is a homegrown problem, a crisis, even. But being realistic, it's a only minor concern.

The tabloids, as you'd expect, have been at their creative best: Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, John Stones, Aaron Cresswell and even Jack Grealish are all reported City targets, amid the club's sudden need to Anglicise its squad for next season.

Not only would it cost City a fortune to recruit even half of those, few would actually increase the Blues' chances of bringing that Premier League trophy back up the M6. Honestly, If it weren't for homegrown restrictions would City deem any of the above worthy of more than a nonplussed shrug of the shoulder?

Perhaps one. It is understood that bid a for Sterling, whose tally of seven league goals last term was seven better than City's own Jesus Navas (the pair managed a similar number of assists - eight to seven in the Spaniard's favour), has been lodged already.

Should a deal for then Liverpool winger be struck, Navas would presumably be expendable and could be sold to free up another overseas place. Either of Kevin de Bruyne or Roberto Firmino, who could replace the energy lost by Milner's departure, would be upgrades on City's current squad.

Likewise, if they wanted a new striker they could sell Stevan Jovetic or Edin Dzeko - both of whom have attracted interest at home and abroad. City could even cut their losses on Eliaquim Mangala or offload Martin Demichelis should they wish to add to their central defensive ranks, although this is much less likely.

Put simply; the Premier League is less concerned by the number of homegrown players you have and more interested in the overseas stars you have not.

With Sterling in - and even without the hypothetical sale of Navas and subsequent signing of someone else - City would be left with a core squad of 21, not counting, of course, those bright young things returning from loan spells (Jason Denayer and Marcos Lopes) in addition to development squad prospects (Jose Pozo and Kelechi Iheanacho, amongst others).

Of those, Lopes and Pozo would count towards City's homegrown quota immediately, with Denayer following suit in 2016 and Iheanacho a year after that. Even so, as players aged 20 or under on 1 January 2015 do not have to be registered, they could all feature freely for the first team next term.

Should the FA's latest homegrown proposals - which would require players to be contracted to an English or Welsh club prior to their 15th birthdays to qualify - be implemented in 2016, then City may find themselves struggling to meet their quota, especially if the number of permitted overseas players is reduced to 13.

Of the current squad, only Hart and Wright (who maybe on his last legs as a City player but is easily replaceable) would c as homegrown, with all the rest not arriving in England until they turned 16 at the earliest.

But even so, the new rules are likely to be phased in over a four-year period, giving City ample time to get their house in order.

Sterling would still count in future years, as would Fulham youngster Patrick Roberts, who is rumoured to be closing in on a transfer to Manchester, and highly-rated EDS pair Brandon Barker and Tosin Adarabioyo. Other Academy graduates are bound to follow.

And when you consider that only 20 players featured in more than three of Chelsea's fixtures during their recent Premier League-winning campaign (only three of whom were homegrown), filling up your quota is perhaps not as essential as it seems.

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