Why Man City selling Jayden Braaf could be a calamitous decision

According to the Daily Mail, Man City look likely to sell highly-rated youngster Jayden Braaf, who has drawn comparisons with former Etihad youth prospect Jadon Sancho.

The 18-year-old signed a new four-year deal last year, having joined the Cityzens from PSV Eindhoven’s youth system a couple of seasons back. Braaf made his debut for City in the U-18 Premier League during the 2018-19 season before making the step up to the U-23s in the previous campaign.

Braaf bagged an impressive 9 goals in 16 appearances for City’s development side in the Premier League 2 Division 1 last term and was heavily involved as the club lifted the FA Youth Cup for the first time in over a decade. The prodigious Dutch starlet has also represented the Cityzens in two editions of the UEFA Youth League, winning the U-23s Players’ Player of the Year award.

However, the teenager has slipped down the pecking order this term. Braaf has been restricted to just a handful of appearances for City’s U-23 side despite being fully fit and ready for action. As per the report, a breakdown in communication between the club and the attacker has cast doubts over his long-term future at the Etihad. 

manchester city v southampton premier league 2
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 11: Jayden Braaf of Manchester City during the Premier League 2 match between Manchester City and Southampton at The Academy Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

The Daily Mail understands Braaf’s situation has put several clubs in Germany and Holland on red alert. The youngster had expected to be training with Pep Guardiola’s first-team but is less than happy with his diminished role in the U-23 set-up.

While City would be open to a loan move in January, a permanent transfer looks more likely. An asking price of £8million has been mooted, although the Cityzens would try to insert a buy-back clause into any agreement. (h/t Daily Mail)

Putting things into perspective, Man City should not let another top-quality youngster like Jayden Braaf slip out of their grip. They have been left red-faced by the evolution of Jadon Sancho into one of the top footballers on the planet ever since his move to Borussia Dortmund. City should avoid a similar fate with the Dutchman.

Sancho isn’t the only City graduate to have ventured elsewhere in search of a quicker route to first-team football. Rabbi Matondo has established himself as a regular for Schalke in Germany while also going on to represent Wales at the senior international level. Brahim Diaz is currently excelling on loan at AC Milan, having swapped Etihad for Real Madrid last year.

scunthorpe united v manchester city u23 leasingcom trophy third round 1
SCUNTHORPE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: Jacob Bedeau of Scunthorpe United goes for the ball with Jayden Braaf of Manchester City during the Leasing.com Trophy third round tie between Scunthorpe United and Manchester City U21’s at Glanford Park on January 08, 2020 in Scunthorpe, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

The rise to prominence of Phil Foden and Eric Garcia, to some extent, in City’s first-team can definitely be seen as success for the club’s academy.

Despite boasting of several world-class players at the senior level, City need to continue promoting young talent from within to keep progressing in the right direction. The development of Garcia and Foden has certainly been impressive but they need to keep hold of other young players as well.

Verdict

Jayden Braaf is certainly among the gems in Man City’s academy and the club should lay out a proper plan for his development to convince the youngster to stay put. A loan spell in the Championship or some other league in Europe would ideally be the next big step in his development if he is not considered ready to make the step up to the first-team at the Etihad just yet. 

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City have put a lot of effort into their youth development in recent years and losing a top prospect like Braaf wouldn’t be smart. Having said that, they should try to retain the Dutch youth international at all costs.

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