City link up with mobile phone operator and Ian Rush in quest for talent

One of the more improbable news stories this week claimed Ian Rush, at the behest of mobile phone operator Digicel, has recomended six youngsters from Central America for a 10-day trial at Platt Lane. Rush apparently visited Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama on behalf of the Blues.

The story was given credence with some quotes from Paul Power, who was asked how the youngsters were faring:

“Performance-wise, some of the guys are ahead of the others. Kevin Melgar [from Panama] is an excellent goalkeeper and he is very agile.

“The two attacking players did well today and we’ll try and get a game going soon so that we can have a good look at the defensive players.”

Whether any of the youngsters has what it takes to make it in the Premier League remains to be seen, but what this does illustrate is the lengths City are now prepared to go in their quest for talent. There has been much talk from the new owners about expanding the Academy globally and this could be one aspect of the plans.

Other Premier League clubs, notably Wigan, have been looking at Central and Southern American players beyond the usual duo of Brazil and Argentina. With the tough competition for talented youngsters in this country, not to mention legal restrictions, it looks like clubs are spreading their nets further and further afield.

A ‘source’ at Digicel makes the dubious claim that “although nothing is guaranteed yet, accommodation and jobs will be provided for the parents of children who make the grade”. Quite what Sepp Blatter would make of that is open to question, but I’d hope City would think carefully about any youngster’s prospects before moving them from their home country.

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