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Borussia Dortmund
By ESPN Staff

Thaksin planning to create City academies in Asia

Thaksin Shinawatra has revealed his ambitious plans to create a string of Manchester City academies across Asia as part of making the club the biggest in the world.

The City chairman made a personal address to City fans yesterday detailing his dream of making the Blues a dominant global force.

Thaksin has already made quite an impression since arriving at the City of Manchester Stadium in July and, with Sven-Goran Eriksson's side sat third in the Premier League, optimism at the club could not be higher.

An integral aspect of Thaksin's strategy is to be in a position to bring the cream of Asia's young talent to the club.

And he has used the successful transition of City's Chinese defender Sun Jihai to English football as an example for young Asian stars to aspire to.

He told the club's official website: 'I plan eventually to establish Manchester City Football Club academies in Asia, firstly in my home nation of Thailand, then in China.

'The Academies are designed to identify and foster talented Asian youth and give them new opportunities in life through the beautiful game of football.

'Manchester City is leading the way in tapping into the reservoir of football talent in Asia. One of my particular hopes is that young Asian players, who show great promise, can find a life in professional football through Manchester City.

'It's my hope that they will become as famous in their own country as our City star Sun Jihai is to China and that young Chinese prospects will follow his shining example.

'Jihai has helped City become a better known club in China.

Thaksin also revealed how he is hopeful Eriksson will sign Asian players in the near future but insists he will not bring them to the club unless they are good enough.

He said: 'For the moment, I'm doing my best to persuade Sven to sign Asian players. But, let me be clear, Sven signs no one unless they are good enough to play for Manchester City.

'I want young players from all over the world, particularly young Asian players, to aspire to play for City and we must develop the structure and means for them to do so.'