Manchester City has undergone a massive paradigm shift in the last decade. They’ve gone from the other club in Manchester to the club in Manchester to beat thanks to the massive investment from the Abu Dhabi Group.
The new owners have invested heavily in the first team and also the academy. In fact, Manchester City has one of the best training facilities in the world. However, because so much investment has gone into the first team, it has become increasingly difficult for new signings and academy players to break into the first team over the years.
The club has sold numerous stars and promising academy players over the years simply because these players couldn’t be given enough playing time and many of these players currently play in Europe’s Top 5 leagues for clubs in the Champions League.
Goalkeeper - Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)
There are six former Manchester City goalkeepers currently contracted to Premier League clubs. Three of those players are first choice goalkeepers of their current clubs, two are the second choice goalkeepers and one is currently on loan at Besiktas.
For this XI, we went with Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel who played ten times for Manchester City before he was sold to League Two side Notts County in 2009.
It looked like Kasper will forever live in the shadows of his father after dropping down to League Two but his performance in the fourth division of English football earned him a move to Leeds United a year later. After one year with Leeds, he joined his present club Leicester City which was then playing in the EFL Championship.
Also read: Best XI of Players Sold by Liverpool
Schmeichel has been Leicester’s first choice goalkeeper since and helped them gain promotion in 2014 before winning the Premier League in 2016. The Dane was voted the third best goalkeeper at The Best FIFA awards in 2018 following his heroics for Denmark at the World Cup.
Honourable mentions - Joe Hart (Burnley), Loris Karius (Besiktas), Willy Caballero (Chelsea), Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace) and Angus Gunn (Southampton)
Wing-backs - Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) and Aleksandar Kolarov (AS Roma)
It’s funny that a former Manchester City player is currently Tottenham’s first choice right-back and a former Tottenham player is Manchester City’s first-choice right-back.
Trippier came through the Man City academy but never made an appearance for the senior side and spent his final years at the club on loan with Barnsley and Burnley before joining the latter permanently in 2012.
The 28-year-old found success with Burnley before moving to Spurs and becoming a regular for England.
Aleksandar Kolarov joined Manchester City in 2010 and spent seven seasons at the club playing 247 games and scoring 21 goals. Although he divided opinion, he was part of a golden era and he won six trophies in his time at the club before joining AS Roma.
Kolarov has impressed upon his return to the Serie A and is a default starter for Roma. He has 5 goals and 12 assists in 54 games across all competitions for his current club.
Honourable mentions - Pablo Zabaleta (West Ham), Bacary Sagna (Montreal Impact), Pablo Maffeo (Stuttgart), Micah Richards (Aston Villa) and Gael Clichy (İstanbul Başakşehir)
Centre-backs - Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Stefan Savic (Atletico Madrid) and Matija Nastasić (Schalke)
Manchester City has spent a lot of money on central defenders in recent years and they could have saved most of it they had kept faith in Jerome Boateng.
The German joined Manchester City in 2010 from Hamburger and left after only one season. He played 24 times for City in all competitions and won the FA Cup although he wasn’t a member of the matchday squad in the final.
Also read: Roma’s amazing sold players XI
Boateng joined Bayern Munich after leaving Man City and made a name as one of the best in the world. He has won 16 trophies with Bayern so far and also played a crucial role when Germany won the World Cup in 2014.
Stefan Savic is another centre-back who could have saved Man City a lot of money if they had more faith in him. He signed for City in 2011 from Partizan but played a backup role to Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott. However, he played 12 games that season and earned a Premier League winners’ medal.
The Montenegrin was sold to Fiorentina the following season and he was a regular starter for the Serie A side for three seasons before joining Atletico Madrid in 2015. Savic has since split the job to partner Diego Godin in the Atletico Madrid defence with Jose Maria Gimenez.
When Man City sold Savic to Fiorentina, they signed a 19-year-old Matija Nastasic in exchange. The Serb had impressed for the Viola the season before and had a huge future ahead of him.
Nastasic impressed in his debut season with the club and became a fan favourite with his performance. He quickly pushed 30-year-old Lescott out of the starting XI and was named the club’s player of the month in November 2012. At the end of the season, he was named Man City’s Young Player of the Season.
The following season, he struggled with injuries but still picked up a Premier League winners’ medal. In 2014/15, he was pushed down the pecking order after City signed Eliaquim Mangala and as a result, he joined Schalke in January 2015.
The 25-year-old had injury concerns during his initial seasons with Schalke but he’s now a regular for the Bundesliga club.
Honourable mentions - Ben Mee (Burnley), Vedran Ćorluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Jason Denayer (Olympique Lyon) and Dedryck Boyata (Celtic)
Midfielders - Yaya Toure (Olympiakos), Adrien Rabiot (PSG) and James Milner (Liverpool)
Yaya Toure was one of the most influential players at Manchester City since the takeover and the role he played in their title-winning 13/14 season is probably unmatched in league’s history.
While playing in a two-man midfield, the Ivorian scored 20 goals and assisted 9 more in 35 league games in the 13/14 season. By the end of his Man City career, he played 316 games, scored 79 goals and he won seven trophies including three league titles in eight years.
In the summer, Toure left City on a free transfer to rejoin Olympiacos.
Adrien Rabiot might be the most shocking name in this list! The PSG midfielder has been linked with a host of clubs recently including Manchester City but the fact is he had a brief stint with the Premier League champions during his youth career.
Also read: Dinamo Zagreb’s Amazing Sold Players XI
The Frenchman spent six months with Man City academy when he was 13 but he returned to France because he was homesick. There are also stories that Rabiot’s mother claimed he was not treated properly.
He joined the PSG academy when he was 15 and has successfully broken into the starting XI one of Europe’s strongest teams.
Mr Reliable, James Milner, joined Man City in 2010 for around £26m! It may not seem like much today but that was a huge fee for a player back then. He was with City for five years and his versatility was well used by his managers to fill in for players across the pitch.
He played 203 games for the Citizens coring 18 times and won five trophies before joining Liverpool on a free transfer. Now 32, Milner’s performance graph has gone up with the Reds and he has been breaking several records including the one for most assists in a Champions League season.
Honourable mentions - Fernando (Galatasaray), Javi Garcia (Real Betis), Gareth Barry (West Brom), Nigel de Jong (Al Ahli), Denis Suarez (Barcelona), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town), Samir Nasri (Free agent), Rony Lopes (Monaco) and Jesus Navas (Sevilla)
Forwards - Edin Dzeko (Roma) and Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Edin Dzeko has to be the most underrated strikers in the world at the moment. The Bosnian is the only player ever to score 50 goals in three of Europe’s Top 5 leagues!
Dzeko had a successful stint with Wolfsburg before he joined Manchester City in January 2011. He played a big role in helping Manchester City win the league title in 11/12 and 13/14 by scoring some crucial goals towards the end of the season. In fact, it was Dzeko who scored the equalizing goal against QPR in the final game of the 11/12 season before Sergio Aguero scored the famous winner.
He played 189 games for City scoring 72 goals before joining Roma in 2015. The 32-year-old has scored 78 goals in148 games for the Serie A giants.
The final player in this XI is one that has been making a lot of headlines in recent weeks.
Jadon Sancho is a product of the Manchester City Academy but he left the club last summer to join Borussia Dortmund as a first team player following a contract dispute with Man City over playing time.
The 18-year-old has six assists to his name this season despite being used as a substitute in most games and no player in Europe’s Top 5 leagues has more assists than him.
Sancho recently made his debut for England senior team and it will only be a matter of time before one of the Premier League’s giants attempt to bring him back to England.
Honourable mentions - Carlos Tevez (Boca Juniors), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Stevan Jovetić (Monaco), Alvaro Negredo (Besiktas), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Mario Balotelli (OGC Nice), Wilfried Bony (Swansea City), Enes Unal (Real Valladolid), Emmanuel Adebayor (İstanbul Başakşehir) and Nolito (Sevilla)