Manchester City deny Guardiola is primed to replace Mancini after arrival of pal Begiristain
09:50 GMT, 29 October 2012
Manchester City have denied Roberto Mancini's job is under threat from Pep Guardiola after the club lured Barcelona's former technical director Txiki Begiristain to the Etihad as director of football.
Begiristain's arrival, combined with that of recently appointed chief executive Ferran Soriano, another to have worked at the Nou Camp, had led to speculation that the currently-out-of-work Guardiola would be approached.
No pressure: Manchester City have denied Roberto Mancini's job is under threat from Pep Guardiola following the arrival of two former senior Barcelona officials
Mancini, who signed a five-year contract
in the summer to become the highest paid manager in the Premier League,
is safe, according to club sources.
'Roberto has won three trophies in
two-and-a-half years and was given a new five-year contract in the
summer, and that would not have happened if the powers that be thought
they had the wrong manager,' the source told ESPN.
this is not about the manager, as some mischief-makers might assume.
The possible recruitment of another former Barcelona man, that is just
not what is going on here.
have a monster of a project with our new academy and Brian is going to
oversee that while Txiki comes in as we need a division of roles.
Welcome aboard: Txiki Begiristain (left) is now City's director of football
MANCHESTER CITY HIERARCHY
Owner: Sheikh Mansour
Chairman: Khaldoon al Mubarak
Chief executive: Ferran Soriano
DoF: Txiki Begiristain Boss: Roberto Mancini
Academy director: Brian Marwood
'Brian [Marwood] met up with Txiki on Thursday and Friday and Brian has the respect of the chairman and has been a constant in all that has been going on with some big changes and the creation of a philosophy and everyone is working together toward that end.'
Guardiola has also been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, while clubs in Italy are among those monitoring his situation while he takes a sabbatical from the game.
Privately Mancini has told close associates he is relieved that more than two years of struggle with Brian Marwood – who was taken up the role of academy director – are now at an end. He is also said to be ‘open minded’ about the prospect of working with a director of football.
Pushed out Brian Marwood
Marwood never actually carried that title after Mancini’s predecessor Mark Hughes objected to it when the former Arsenal winger was appointed four years ago.
It is clear that Begiristain’s role in the recruitment of players will be central to his day-to-day involvement at the Etihad Stadium. Whether Mancini will see that as helpful or obstructive will be interesting. The one thing he will not tolerate is being told which players he should or should not try to buy.
Mancini's season has not been without its problems so far, however, and he is currently trying to contain the mutterings of dissent from a small group of players in his dressing room.
Begiristain, 48, has been on City’s radar for some time and was finally lured from Barcelona at the end of last week by Soriano.
The two men worked successfully at the Nou Camp and City hope that the pairing of such experienced and talented men can help lead the group forwards as they look to build on last season’s Barclays Premier League win.
City were keen to stress that Marwood has not been demoted, claiming that the former Arsenal player retains the support of chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and underlining that the success of the club’s academy will be vital to the future of the club. Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine that this is a role Marwood would have chosen.
Indifferent: City's form in Europe has been dismal, and they aren't convincing at home, either
Begiristain, who played for Real Sociedad and Barcelona during his playing career, said: ‘I am very pleased indeed to have been offered such an exciting opportunity.
‘The progress and on-field achievements at Manchester City are plain for all to see and I am honoured to have been asked to contribute to their future success.
‘I am very much looking forward to working with Brian Marwood, Roberto Mancini and Ferran Soriano in continuing to build a football team and philosophy which will serve Manchester City well in the near and long-term future.’