Manchester City have been linked with a trio of English stars in recent days, with the club reportedly keen to bolster their ‘home-grown’ squad resources.
It’s not hard to see why the Citizens are focusing their efforts on improving their British-bred element given the status of the majority of their representatives who currently satisfy the criteria.
Of the six such players on their first team roster only Joe Hart and Gael Clichy seem sure to be at the Etihad next term with James Milner’s contract looking destined to run down and Frank Lampard off to New York.
Richard Wright and Dedryck Boyata round out the sextet and it’s doubtful either would be in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad but for their home-grown status.
Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, Everton’s Ross Barkley and Aaron Cresswell of West Ham are the targets on the lips of the transfer gossips.
City’s interest in Wilshere may at first seem to be bad news for the Gunners but on closer inspection it offers them, as well as Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool the promise of a more productive 2015/16.
The Sky Blues’ current focus on home-grown talent is eerily similar to the recruitment drive they undertook in the summer after they won the Premier League in 2011/12, when Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Wright arrived.
A distinctly underwhelming season followed, with United beating them to the title by 11 points and a similar downgrade could be in the offing again next term.
The need to bring in home-grown talent will seriously limit City’s ability to improve their squad ahead of the next campaign.
Roy Hodgson’s most recent England squad offers a useful snapshot of how hard it will be for the Sky Blues to recruit top-draw domestic talent.
No fewer than 13 of the 23 played for either United, Arsenal or Liverpool, while there is hardly a deep pool of quality beyond the confines of the manager’s picks.
Unlike City, the trio have no pressing need to sign British-developed players, with seven, eight and nine among this term’s Premier League declarations respectively.
All three will be in a far better position when it comes to strengthening their squads than the 2013/14 champions this summer as a result.
For those who recruit astutely there is the promise of overhauling the Citizens into genuine title-contender territory.
Man Utd face Arsenal for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals at Old Trafford this evening and the Red Devils are 6/4 favourites for their seventh successive home win in the rivalry.
The Gunners are 19/10, while the draw is priced up at 12/5.