After three and a half years in charge, manager Roberto Mancini has been sacked by Manchester City, he is hotly rumoured to be replaced by Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Ironically, it was year to the day after winning Manchester City’s first championship in nearly half a century, Mancini was dismissed as the club’s ambitious Abu Dhabi owners finally lost patience with the Italian manager.
The 48-year-old Mancini’s farewell follows City’s shock FA Cup defeat by Wigan on Saturday and their inability to defend the Barclays’ Premier League title the club won last season, with rivals Manchester United running away with the league this season.
A club statement read late last night: “Despite everyone’s best efforts, the club has failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception of qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League. This, combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013/14 season and beyond.”
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan completed a reported $300 million takeover in 2008 and has spent millions more in making City, finish second this season, into a major force in the Premier League. After buying City, Sheikh Mansour invested more than $600 million on players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez, and helped the perennial underachievers beat neighbors Manchester United to the title on goal difference last season.
Yet the Manchester club did not make it out of their UEFA Champions League group this season, becoming the first English side to fail to win any of its six matches during the group phase of the competition.
The buildup to the FA Cup had been overshadowed with widespread rumors that Mancini, who signed a five-year contract last July, would be replaced by Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini (formerly of Real Madrid), who guided his team to Champions League quarter-finals this season.
“This has been a difficult decision for the owner, chairman and board to make and it is the outcome of a planned end of season review process that has been brought forward in light of recent speculation and out of respect for Roberto and his extensive contributions to the football club,” added the City statement.
On Sunday night, Pellegrini told Malaga’s website that he had not lined up any move to become the Sky Blues’ next coach. “I categorically deny I am the new Manchester City coach, nothing has been signed and no agreement reached,” said the Chilean.
Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.