May 14, 2013, 8:50 AM EST
With Roberto Mancini given his marching orders last night, who will replace the Italian as Manchester City manager?
One man stands head and shoulders above the rest. Step forward, Manuel Pellegrini.
The current Malaga head coach has been tight-lipped on any potential move to the Etihad Stadium but the rumors have been circling for some time now.
Pellegrini took Malaga to the brink of this seasons Champions League semifinals — where they dramatically lost out to Borussia Dortmund after two controversial late goals — with huge financial restrictions hanging over the Southern Spanish club.
Earlier in his managerial career the Chilean took Villarreal from obscurity to the brink of the Champions League final in 2006. He is known in Spain as “El Ingeniero” – The Engineer – and his methodical approach coupled with meticulous planning, has seen him flourish into one of the greatest minds in the Spanish game.
Now can that approach work in Manchester? Well, he hasn’t got the job yet. But Pellegrini is the overwhelming favorite with the bookmakers. His odds of of 1/6 showcase that it is simply a matter of when, not if, he takes over. Other frontrunners for the job are Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez, Jurgen Klöpp and Carlo Ancelotti.
Will he stay in Andalucía? Not likely. With huge financial restrictions heading Malaga’s way next season — coupled with a ban from European competitions for breaching UEFA’s financial fair play rules — it seems as if now is the right time to let “El Ingeniero” get started with building a dynasty at Manchester City.
That said, it may take a while for the former Chilean international defender to win over the City fans. Many adored Mancini, even through the tough times this season. He brought them the English league title for the first time since 1968 and his arrogance and swagger helped him become a likeable character and a figure head for the new era of dominance. But as results wavered this term, fans, players and probably even Mancini himself, realized he was on borrowed time as City’s ruthless owners wielded the axe once more.
May 13 is a sacred day in the history of Manchester City Football Club. It was on that day, exactly one year ago, that Mancini delivered their first-ever EPL crown.
One year later he is out of the job. A year is a long-time in soccer.
So it seems it is, arrivederci Roberto. Hola, Manuel. If he is ‘the chosen one’ will Pellegrini fare any better at City?
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