LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Manchester City hope to start producing more of their own young players at a new training centre to be built by Dutch-owned construction firm BAM next to the Etihad Stadium, home of the English Premier League champions.
The first team will train at the City Football Academy which will have 16 soccer pitches and also be able to host up to 400 young players.
The club confirmed on Friday that BAM would begin work on the site in the coming weeks and that the project should be ready for the 2014/15 season.
Financial details were not disclosed but the club is believed to be investing in excess of 100 million pounds ($160 million) pounds in the venture.
It is part of City’s efforts to reduce their reliance on the deep pockets of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, who took over the club four years ago.
“The development of young and home grown players is central to our strategy of creating both a winning team and a sustainable football club - an ambition outlined by Sheikh Mansour at the outset of his ownership in September 2008,” said Ferran Soriano, Manchester City CEO.
Sheikh Mansour has spent an estimated 900 million pounds ($1.3 billion) on buying the club and signing players like Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure and Spaniard David Silva.
He was rewarded in May when City pipped local rivals Manchester United to win the league for the first time in 44 years.
However, new rules introduced by European soccer’s governing body mean clubs must curb their losses or face exclusion from competitions like the Champions League.
That puts an added premium on spotting and nurturing talented young players rather than spending heavily to hire established stars.
A 7,000 capacity stadium for youth matches will be part of the site, helping to give youngsters a taste of playing in front of crowds.
City said the project would create at least 160 additional construction jobs and 95 permanent positions would be available to maintain and run the Academy in the east of the city.
A bridge will link the training ground to the Etihad Stadium, built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and which the club moved into the following year. ($1 = 0.6211 British pounds) (Editing by Hugh Lawson)