Manchester City want ex-Barcelona chief Ferran Soriano

Manchester City target former Barca general manager Soriano to be chief executive

Manchester City’s long search for a
chief executive looks to be over with ex-Barcelona general manager
Ferran Soriano the favourite to be appointed in the next few weeks.

City are expected to announce the
arrival of Soriano, the president of Spainair, when a proposed
half-share sale of the struggling airline to Qatar Airways is completed.

City target: Spanair's president Ferran Soriano (right)

City target: Spanair's president Ferran Soriano (right)

Soriano, who was at Barcelona from 2003-2008, would then be in a position to take charge at the Etihad Stadium after a near five-month hunt for Garry Cook’s successor.

Cook quit the Blues last September after admitting an error of judgement as a board-led investigation began into a vile email sent to the cancer-stricken mother of defender Nedum Onuoha.

The email from gaffe-prone Cook’s account was sent in error to Dr Anthonia Onuoha, who is also Nedum’s agent.

Cook – who earned 1.8m a year – said in a follow-up email to Dr Onuoha that disciplinary action had been taken against an employee he claimed had hacked into his account.

The original email had been intended for his colleague, chief football operations officer Brian Marwood.

Soriano is a well known figure in European football and was on the executive committee of the now disbanded G14 group of top clubs.

The 44-year-old joined Barcelona in 2003 and was appointed vice-president and head of economics at the club, and worked as general manager.

Long gone: Former City chief executive Garry Cook (left)

Long gone: Former City chief executive Garry Cook (left)

In his first three years he helped increase
revenues and the club moved into a profit-making position.

He enjoyed a close working
relationship with Barcelona’s technical director Txiki Beguiristain and he was also closely involved in Barcelona’s transfer dealings.

Soriano resigned from the board along with Laporta in 2008, and is reported
to have fallen out of favour with the current Barcelona president,
Sandro Rosell.

There have been suggestions in Barcelona circles that if Soriano is appointed at City he may seek to bring highly-rated Beguiristain.

While at Barcelona he was a member of the executive committee of G-14, the grouping of the most powerful European clubs that then became the European Club Association.

He also represented Barcelona on Uefa’s European Club Forum, and served on the competitions committee of the Champions League.