Manchester City are schooling Manchester United in virtually every area these days, but it’s their youth development and scouting which will hurt the Red Devils the most.
Once known for possessing the best in class in every department, all around the world you could bet on finding United alumni plying their trade at a professional level in football.
The goalposts have shifted, though, and in their decline, United have seen their noisy neighbours become the best at everything they used to pat themselves on the back for.
Questions must always be asked about how City got to this point, but having endless income and using it wisely are two different things.
The Cityzens continue to use it wisely, much to the dismay of football fans across the globe as they assume the position of childhood destroyers.
What stands out the most about their dominance, however, is how they have successfully shifted the goalposts concerning youth development.
Once known for their lavish spending, City now successfully combine that with being one of the best places in the world for budding ballers to gain a footballing education, predominantly through their Elite Development System and the well-connected City Football Group.
Your dad hates multi-club ownership groups as much as he hates electric cars and cycle lanes. And he’s got a point. But unfortunately, it’s a dog-eat-dog world an the City group continue to devour by snapping up the best young talents in the game.
It’s reached a point where today’s teenagers are no longer picking United on heritage terms. Instead, City’s latest teenage prospect has already got experience in running rings around the Red Devils – one of many reasons why he seems destined to be a star in sky blue.
Alex Alcala was born in California and grew up in an American setup, but not the American setup of yesteryear involving dodgy penalties and bizarre signings.
Instead, Alcala has benefitted from immense reform in the states. Well, that and a wonderous left foot that – combined with flair that will singe your eyebrows off – allows him to wriggle through gaps and zip past defenders like it’s nobody’s business.
The 18-year-old rose to prominence on the books at LA Galaxy, training with City and even Barcelona before signing with the MLS franchise in 2020. Since then, he’s burst onto the scene in their second team and been the apple of City’s eye ever since.
Watching him strut his stuff, it’s clear to see why.
In a youth tournament, his skill and potential was on display in a ferocious showing against United’s youngsters, quite literally running rings around them in a fashion that feels straight out of FIFA.
Manchester City have completed the signing of 18 year-old Alex Alcala from LA Galaxy 👀🇺🇸🇲🇽
One of the most exciting talents coming out of the US right now… City agreed to sign him back in 2020 & activated the clause once he turned 18 📈
Look at these clips… Big baller 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/mQw20Hlzb6
— Rising Ballers (@RisingBallers_) January 16, 2024
It’s a skillset that can’t be taught. Obscene ability and the confidence to pull it off to match.
Someone should give United a trigger warning, knowing that they could potentially have to deal with him again.
With close control and agility like that, it’s clear to see why City of all clubs were so eager to snap him up. They’ve pre-ordered another half-space monster.
Representing Mexico at under-18 level, Alcala is expected to slot into City’s Elite Development Squad, although we don’t think it’ll be long before they send him around the houses of the group to get an education on the job.
That means he’s set for a 2024 world tour claiming the ankles of fully grown men on a path to stardom.
Having inked a deal with the treble winners, the hard work starts now for the teenager. There’s a long way to the top, but it’s hard not to agree with the Lionel Messi comparisons, purely on his build and profile alone.
Phil Foden and Oscar Bobb have both proven that you can break into the first-team at City if you can slot into that menacing total football system.
Going off the eye test alone, Alcala undoubtedly has the potential to do the same in a few years.
By Mitch Wilks