Man City: Why they won’t find an upgrade on Pellegrini

Michael Lintorn argues that the six mooted Manuel Pellegrini replacements at Man City are all either inferior or unfeasible…

Stephen Tudor recently presented a compelling case on these pages as to why Manuel Pellegrini’s time may soon be up at Man City, who have drifted to 8.415/2 to retain their Premier League title since losing to Liverpool.

However, there are two key reasons to suspect that he will still be in charge in 2015/16.

The first is that he will still be on course to meet chief exec Ferran Soriano’s target of five trophies in five years having claimed the Premier League and Capital One Cup last season, while a difference between this and Roberto Mancini’s post- title campaign is that he hasn’t fallen out with his players.

The second is that massive question marks surround each of the proposed successors, who are all either unrealistic or unattractive candidates. Observe…


Is he better than Pellegrini? You can make a case that he’s better than everybody because in five completed seasons as a top-flight manager, he has won four league titles, two Champions League titles, three Club World Cups and nine other trophies.

Is he available? Not if you take the man at his word – which he’s usually good for: “I’m happy here at Bayern – this is an outstanding club. I want to fulfil my contract and do my job well… I still have a year and a half left on my contract.”

Verdict: Won’t go


Is he better than Pellegrini? There’s certainly an argument: they are tied on a European league title apiece and Simeone has upstaged Pellegrini’s Champions League overachievement with Villarreal and Malaga by reaching the final. Then again, would the English punditocracy accept his fondness of 4-4-2?

Is he available? It doesn’t look like it. He is contracted to Atletico Madrid until 2017 and is negotiating an extension, stating that: “It is obvious that I’m very happy at this club and that I love Atleti very much and we’re trying to continue this project that we started three years ago.”

Verdict: Unlikely to go


Is he better than Pellegrini? Nobody knows, with the Frenchman’s only experience coming as coach of Man City’s elite development squad. However, while everyone quotes the Guardiola example as to why it isn’t lunacy to hire an untested legend, there are countless recent counterpoints, like Ciro Ferrara at Juventus, Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi at AC Milan and Alan Shearer at Newcastle.

Is he available? Yes, he is already employed by the Citizens.

Verdict: It would be too big and needless a gamble


Is he better than Pellegrini? As impressive as Klopp’s work between 2010 and 2013 was, winning the Bundesliga twice and reaching a Champions League final, you have to be judged on your latest efforts. Klopp has Borussia Dortmund in the bottom half of the Bundesliga, and was rock bottom last month. If he salvages a top-four finish and a cup final, his appeal will resurface, but he isn’t desirable at present.

Is he available? Probably not. He is tied to Dortmund until 2018 and has never broken a contract, while chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke is on record as saying that he will never be sacked.

Verdict: Not an upgrade on current form


Is he better than Pellegrini? Though his reputation in England is at an all-time high, Koeman has never really achieved anything that Pellegrini hasn’t. For the Dutchman’s surprise Champions League qualification pushes with Feyenoord and Southampton, see Pellegrini at Villarreal and Malaga. For his titles with Ajax and PSV, see the Chilean’s with LDU Quito, San Lorenzo, River Plate and Man City.

Is he available? Koeman has aired his intention to see out the entire three years of his Southampton contract, and even if he didn’t, Man City would possibly have to compete with the likes of Barcelona.

Verdict: Not an upgrade


Is he better than Pellegrini? This opinion will likely irritate Liverpool fans who will highlight spending less, yet nothing concrete shows Rodgers to be superior to Pellegrini. It was the Man City boss who delivered the title fight last term, despite Rodgers being top. The Reds manager also surely needs to win something at top-flight level to stand out as a frontrunner for a future Etihad Stadium vacancy.

Is he available? Rodgers is signed up until 2018, but has twice left a team for a divisional rival, ditching Watford for Reading in 2009 and Swansea for Liverpool in 2012.

Verdict: Not an upgrade

Do you agree – are these unrealistic options? Are there any other candidates worth mentioning? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting @Betfair