Manchester City have revealed plans for an 80-acre training centre in the shadow of their Eastlands Stadium.
The Blues, riding high in second place in the Premier League, are looking to consolidate their arrival in soccer's rich list, a new era begun when the Abu Dhabi United investment group purchased them three years ago.
Since then a galaxy of stars have arrived in the blue half of Manchester, including Robinho, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero. City ended their 35-year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup last season, and finished third in the league to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
With an intriguing all-Manchester tussle for the title brewing, City have a serious chance of becoming English champions for the first time since 1968.
With the imminent UEFA Financial Fair Play Rules, the spending spree cannot go on, so today club submitted a planning application for what it hopes will be a factory of free stars. As well as four pitches for first-team training and up to 400 youngsters will be able to learn their trade at its new facility, which would include a 7,000-seat stadium.
Outside England, United are usually referred to as 'Manchester', but with the sudden surge of the Citizens, all that will have to change.
(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile