Why Manchester City are so good at selling players

James Trafford’s £15million move from Manchester City to Burnley has caught the imagination in recent days.

The 20-year-old could command another £4m in bonuses, too, which would be a pretty good haul for City, considering he has ‘only’ played two seasons in League One.

In reality, 78 first-team senior games for a goalkeeper of that age is pretty good, but given Burnley are hoping to re-establish themselves in the Premier League it is easy to see why there are questions about his suitability to the top level.

And controversy is never far away when City are mentioned in the same breath as income, which is understandable given the 115 Premier League charges hanging over them for alleged financial irregularities, which City deny.

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They will probably never escape that cynicism no matter the eventual verdict, but when it comes to transfer fees that other clubs are willing to pay for their young players, it takes a certain level of mental gymnastics to conclude that something is awry.

Shields knows those players inside out and after being given a brief to sign young players, he had no doubts about going back to City to bring in those he trusted. The fact that Lavia, 19, has immediately stood out as an incredible prospect and could already be on the move again this summer shows that there was certainly logic in that, even if Bazunu had a tougher year in goal, and Edozie and Larios made less of an impact than expected in their first season.

Lavia was signed at the age of 16 and was extremely highly rated at City, but they recognised that they could not deny him regular first-team football at Southampton. They did put in sell-on and buy-back clauses to offer protection in the future, as they did with the other three sales — something that brought the transfer fees down.

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