Manchester City have been granted Category One academy status.
It confirms the Premier League champions as one of the first club's to achieve the top level under the new Elite Performance Player Plan (EPPP) and fundamentally allows them to recruit young players between 12 and 16 from across the country, rather than a limited area at present.
Whilst the announcement had been expected given the enormous training complex planned for a site across the road from the Eithad Stadium, it is an important step forward in City's intended development.
Although he has lavished in excess of £1billion on City since his takeover in 2008, owner Sheikh Mansour has always had the aim of a twin-track approach, with the aim of the Blues eventually nurturing their own players.
"As part of our academy development plan, we've invested money, time and expertise into ensuring that Manchester City can provide young footballers with the absolute pinnacle of footballing educations," said City's Chief Football Operations Officer Brian Marwood
"The development plan was born before the advent of EPPP as we continue to recognise a need to evolve not only talented football players but also well-rounded young men who will prove to be ambassadors for the club in the coming years."
- Manchester City