The City Football Group continues to grow every year with new teams joining the global network, allowing Manchester City and all of its partner clubs to share ideas and move players around the world.
And another example of how players can move between the network could soon happen, with a young Spanish defender poised to swap his homeland for the Netherlands.
23-year-old Pablo Marí was signed by Manchester City from Gimnàstic de Tarragona last August for an undisclosed fee. City had no plans to use him in their own first-team and the idea was to farm him out to Girona FC to aid their promotion push to La Liga – something that is very close to happening, with the Catalan club on the verge of entering Spain’s top flight.
Unfortunately for Marí, unlike the similarly named Pablo Maffeo, he has struggled to make an impact at the Segunda División club, making only 8 appearances in the league all season, with one more in the Copa del Rey.
Marí is likely to move on in the summer and recently flew to the Netherlands for a tour of NAC Breda’s facilities. NAC, like Girona, are partnered with the City Football Group, and have a host of young City starlets on loan, with more to follow next season.
When asked whether Marí would be joining, technical director Hans Smulders told the local press, “We can not say anything about Manchester City, this is part of our agreement.”
NAC hopes that by acquainting players such as Marí with the club early in the summer, it will help convince them to stay in Breda and play for the club next season. Cameron Humphreys, Rodney Kongolo, Paolo Fernandes, Isaac Buckley and Thierry Ambrose attended NAC’s 4-1 win over FC Oss on April 28 and could all be heading to the Netherlands for loan spells next season.
Last summer, NAC had trouble convincing some City youngsters to join them on loan, with attempts to bring in Tosin Adarabioyo, Kean Bryan and Shay Facey ending in failure. Tosin was kept around by Pep Guardiola, Bryan did not to move to the Netherlands and Facey joined Dutch top-flight club Heerenveen instead.
The ambitious club instead brought in Ashley Smith-Brown, Brandon Barker, Thomas Agyepong and David Faupala, with highly-rated Manu García replacing Faupala in the New Year and helping the club’s promotion push with some good performances.