Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has warned his players that none of them are safe and he is more than willing to drop them next season in favour of giving youth a chance.
The Spaniard was officially unveiled to supporters over the weekend, and promised that he would deliver good football and success in the years to come.
However, he has sent a clear message to his senior players, according to The Sun, stating that if they underperform, he will be ready to dip into the club’s academy squad and give youngsters a chance.
“I’m told the academy at Manchester City compared to other places has very, very good talent. I grew up in what for the last 20 years was probably the best academy in the world at Barcelona.
“All of the big talents will join us in the pre-season and afterwards they have to show me how good they are.
“Afterwards my intuition will help me decide if they are able or not. Sometimes I will be right and maybe I can make a mistake but it depends on them.
“If they have the quality and enough passion to become something in world football and if they show me something they will be in my hands.”
Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito have already been signed this summer, and several other new faces are expected to follow them through the entrance at the Etihad along with youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko.
In contrast, many of the senior personnel currently in the squad have uncertain futures, with the likes of Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta, Samir Nasri and others all linked with exits ahead of next season, as suggested by The Sun.
It may well prove to be too risky a strategy to carry out a complete overhaul this summer as Guardiola will need some sense of stability, but his warning will be a reminder to those currently at his disposal that they will have to step up and deliver or face the axe.
As seen in previous roles, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach isn’t afraid to give youth an opportunity, and that will be a trend that is likely to be replicated in Manchester.
Much has been made of City’s academy, in which the club has invested plenty of money, and Guardiola will certainly be a key figure in ensuring that the youngsters take the next step towards becoming important figures in the club’s future.