Tag Archives: soriano

Sandro Rosell slams Manchester City for trying to lure Barcelona staff

Barca warning for Man City over luring stars: They want to fish here but there are no fish left!

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

11:42 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:47 GMT, 15 January 2013

Offended: Sandro Rosell slammed Manchester City

Offended: Sandro Rosell slammed Manchester City

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has claimed Manchester City have tried to lure a number of people to the Etihad Stadium from the Nou Camp.

Rosell says the Barclays Premier League champions have not only tried to sign players from all levels of the club's structure, but also other employees of the Catalan giants.

Former Barcelona directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain are now at City as chief executive and director of football respectively.

Rosell, speaking to RAC1 and quoted
in Marca, said: 'There have been some offensive approaches from City, at
all levels of the structure of the club, but no one wants to go.

'They wanted to fish here, but there
were no fish left. We're talking about people at all levels of the Barca
structure, not just players. Their attempts have been unsuccessful,
though, as our employees are happy here.

Star of the show: Lionel Messi is Barca's prized asset

Star of the show: Lionel Messi is Barca's prized asset

City slickers: Txiki Begiristain (left) and Ferran Soriano left Barca for the Etihad

City slickers: Txiki Begiristain (left) and Ferran Soriano left Barca for the Etihad

'There have been contacts, but we have a fantastic group of people and nobody wants to go.'

He added: 'I had hoped that he (Begiristain) would not use the information he gathered about Barcelona during his time here to help another club become bigger, but he seems to disagree with me.

'I would like it if the relationship between both clubs was a bit better and more transparent.'

Roberto Mancini wants to pick Manchester City up by beating Manchester United

Mancini bids to lift mood at his Theatre of Gloom with another derby win over Fergie

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 8 December 2012

Roberto Mancini tried comedy when asked if he and Manchester City's new director of football, Txiki Begiristain, shared the same ideas about transfer targets.

'Yes. Him, me and Guardiola,' he quipped, before adding hastily: 'That is a joke.' It was a rare moment of levity in a peculiarly joyless season.

At face value, City should be feeling buoyant as they welcome Manchester United for their first meeting since the balance of power shifted last May.

Now's the time: Roberto Mancini (left) hopes Yaya Toure (right) can run the show from midfield

Now's the time: Roberto Mancini (left) hopes Yaya Toure (right) can run the show from midfield

The blue army: Mario Balotelli (left) and Edin Dzeko (right) will want to sink United again

The blue army: Mario Balotelli (left) and Edin Dzeko (right) will want to sink United again

They are champions, pipping United with the final kick of last season, they are the only unbeaten league team in the country this season and have not lost at home for two years.

Yet morale has been low and relationships strained, even before the defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday which left City owner Sheik Mansour without European football despite his 1billion investment.

At the top, Mancini is distant from his players, booed by some fans for his substitutions and aware that the appointment of two Barcelona executives, Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano, has increased the likelihood of Barca's double Champions League-winning manager Pep Guardiola replacing him at some stage. Off the field, a corporate restructure has left staff fearing for their jobs.

Head of partnerships Luis Vicente cleared his desk last month while finance director Graham Wallace will be vulnerable when the next set of figures show another big loss.

Elsewhere, employees whose annual salary is equivalent to what Yaya Toure earns in a day, have been let go to cut costs.

The dismal Champions League exit – accompanied by damning comments from players Micah Richards and Joe Hart – means City desperately need a tonic today.

And skipper Vincent Kompany, who scored the only goal when United last visited in April, has issued a rallying cry.

He said: 'We know the challenge is huge. It's a good game to pick yourself up with, but there is always a risk attached to a game like this.'

Larking about: Manchester City's players appear to be having some fun on Saturday in training

Larking about: Manchester City's players appear to be having some fun on Saturday in training

Returning to haunt them Carlos Tevez could feature for Manchester City

Returning to haunt them Carlos Tevez could feature for Manchester City

He won the mind games with Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season with his mantra that United were certain to win the title, and the Old Trafford club squandered an eight-point lead, including a crucial 1-0 defeat at the Etihad.

Only now can the City boss admit: 'They thought it was over, yes.' Mancini starts today having to defend his overall record, not least to those who booed the replacement of Carlos Tevez in last week's 1-1 draw with Everton.

'I accept the criticism,' he said. 'But I think in two years we did a good job because we won three trophies. In the last two years not many managers won three trophies and if they should sack me…'

While Mancini was feted for the 6-1 win at Old Trafford last season, he is prouder of the 1-0 home win over United in the title run-in, which was more emphatic than the scoreline suggested.

Ready for Mario Balotelli (left) scored a brace and was instrumental in Jonny Evans being dismissed when City battered United 6-1

Ready for Mario Balotelli (left) scored a brace and was instrumental in Jonny Evans being dismissed when City battered United 6-1

'United had 10 men at Old Trafford [Jonny Evans was sent off] and that is always a problem for teams.

'The home win was a proper reflection.'

Despite that result, Mancini is likely to split the starting attack from that night, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, with Mario Balotelli preferred to former United man Tevez.

David Silva and Gael Clichy also hope to be fit. One mid-term silver lining for Mancini is that he respects Begiristain's ability to sign a player above that of Brian Marwood, who oversaw the purchases of Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Javi Garcia in the summer and has since moved to take charge of the club's academy.

'I think that now we have people who know the market and can move quickly,' he said. 'But it will still be difficult to find the players in January to improve our team a lot.'

Never has he or the club needed a positive result more than Sunday. It may even spread a little happiness around the Theatre of Gloom.

Pick that one out! Rooney scored a belter against City in 2011

Pick that one out! Rooney scored a belter against City in 2011

Roberto Mancini faces Manchester City axe if club don"t retain Premier League title – Gary Neville

Mancini would face axe if City don't retain Premier League title, says Neville

PUBLISHED:

17:03 GMT, 7 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 7 December 2012

Gary Neville has accepted Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini could be ousted if he fails to retain the Premier League title.

Mancini heads into Sunday's Manchester derby only three points adrift of United and the only unbeaten side in the entire English four-tier structure.

Yet the Italian is under pressure following the Blues' European exit, their defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday meaning they have not even landed in the Europa League following their Champions League exit, as was the case 12 months ago.

Tough gig: City could sack Mancini if they don't win the Premier League

Tough gig: City could sack Mancini if they don't win the Premier League

Neville, a Sportsmail columnist, believes an FA Cup and Premier League underline the progress City have made over the past two seasons.

However, with a new chief executive to impress in Ferran Soriano and a new director of football to work with now Brian Marwood has made way for Txiki Begiristain, he feels Mancini's position cannot be described as secure, especially with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho likely to be looking for work in the summer.

'Roberto Mancini deserves more time but it is not a ridiculous suggestion to think City would not consider making a change if he doesn't win the league,' said Neville.

'Whilst Roberto Mancini continues to be successful he should stay in his job but it does feel like one day Mourinho or Guardiola will end up there.

Josep Guardiola

Jose Mourinho

In the frame: Guardiola and Mourinho could take the managerial reigns at City

'They have a new chief executive and a new director of football who presumably have the ear of the owner.

'It might be three or five years but eventually they will want to stamp their mark on the club and Mourinho and Guardiola have to be pretty high on the list.'

Neville was speaking alongside journalists at a Football Writers' Association Forum in Manchester ahead of Sunday's derby clash between City and United at the Etihad Stadium.

The presence of two such prominent former Barcelona figures at the Etihad Stadium has lent credence to the theory Guardiola will choose City as the place to end his year-long sabbatical.

Centre of attention: Sportsmail's Gary Neville claims Ferguson won't 'step aside for anyone'

Centre of attention: Sportsmail's Gary Neville claims Ferguson won't 'step aside for anyone'

Mourinho has long been touted as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at United.

And with reports emerging from Spain the former Chelsea boss will leave Real Madrid in the summer, it has been suggested Ferguson might be persuaded to stand aside after spending 26 years at the Old Trafford helm. Neville simply does not buy into that theory.

All smiles: Ferguson has been at the Old Trafford helm for over 26 years

All smiles: Ferguson has been at the Old Trafford helm for over 26 years

'Whilst he wants to carry on, Sir Alex Ferguson will not stand aside for anybody,' said the former United full-back.

'He will decide when he doesn't want to do it anymore.

'He is not the type of person who would just step aside so he could watch someone else manage his football team.

'It has been Alex Ferguson's last season for 15 years now. Unless it is the best kept secret in the world, nobody knows other than him.'

With both clubs moving clear of third-placed Chelsea, United and City appear to have the Premier League title between them once more. Sunday's match is delicately poised, with the Red Devils three points ahead of their neighbours, who have a better goal difference, meaning victory on Sunday will take them top, exactly the same position that existed ahead of the corresponding fixture last term.

'Sir Alex Ferguson has been openly concerned about United's defending,' said Neville.

'It must be massively frustrating for him and he would have been embarrassed by the first half against Reading.

'But, at the really big points in the season, do his players let him down More often than not, they do not.

'But there is also a lot I like about Manchester City. They have dug out results, never seem to go away and are still only three points behind.'

Manchester City are still searching for their own identity: Gary Neville

Why Manchester City are still searching for their own identity

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 11 November 2012

Sporting director, technical director,
director of football: call it what you will, the idea of having an
executive director with football responsibilities who supervises the
manager of a club has always seemed a bit foreign to us in England.

We have been brought up on strong
managers with dominant personalities, going back to Bill Shankly, Brian
Clough, Don Revie and now Sir Alex Ferguson. We find it hard to get our
heads around the idea of someone telling the manager who he ought to
buy.

But as more and more businessmen and
billionaires buy into the sport and look to replicate more conventional
corporate structures, it is something we’re becoming increasingly used
to in English football.

Which is why it will be interesting to
watch what happens in the next few months at Manchester City, where
Txiki Begiristain has been appointed director of football to work
alongside Roberto Mancini.

The new man: Manchester City's director of football Txiki Begiristain (left) with chief executive Ferran Soriano

The new man: Manchester City's director of football Txiki Begiristain (left) with chief executive Ferran Soriano

The new man comes with an impressive
record, having been the technical director at Barcelona and one of the
directors there who pushed hard for Pep Guardiola to be promoted from
his role of reserve team manager to take on the first team in 2008; a
risky move that now looks to be one the best decisions ever made in
football.

He will be a strong character with
confidence in his own views working alongside Mancini, who himself has
strident opinions. In fact, Mancini would often publicly question the
role of Brian Marwood, the former football administrator, who has been
made managing director of the club’s academy to make way for
Begiristain.

But you can see why Begiristain has
been appointed. Despite the success that Mancini and City have had in
winning the FA Cup and the Premier League, they still seem to be a club
in search of a strong identity. /11/10/article-0-15E1F313000005DC-707_634x442.jpg” width=”634″ height=”442″ alt=”Identity crisis: Manchester City are on the brink of their second straight Champions League group stage exit” class=”blkBorder” />

Identity crisis: Manchester City are on the brink of their second straight Champions League group stage exit

And you sense that Sheik Mansour and
chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak want something more than just cups. They
seem to want to create a legacy. They are building a spectacular new
academy, with similarities to the Barcelona model, and seem to want to
put people in place to dictate the style of play over the next 10 years.
In business terms, they are building a brand.

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We’ve seen at Chelsea that owners who
invest billions of pounds are not just content to win trophies. They
want the world to praise the manner in which they win them. That’s what
Begiristain will have been brought in to do, interestingly working
alongside the new chief executive at the club, Ferran Soriano, who was
also at Barcelona.

When you think about the biggest clubs in Europe, such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, you know what they stand for, on and off the pitch. The tactics and the commitment to entertaining football have been forged over years.

So Manchester City’s challenge now is not just to win the Premier League but to build a strong working relationship between Begiristain and Mancini that forges an identity.

There is no reason why employing a technical director can’t work. West Brom cemented their place in the top five by winning 2-1 at Wigan. They have probably been the best club in England at using the model of the sporting director, with Dan Ashworth, who is now the FA’s director of elite development, working in tandem with a number of coaches.

Ideally, the sporting director will have picked the manager. That way, they stand or fall together so there is a vested interest in making the relationship work and also a shared philosophy as to how to play the game.

Working relationship: How will Roberto Mancini and Begiristain get on

Working relationship: How will Roberto Mancini and Begiristain get on

The key, though, is that the relationship between the manager and his sporting director must be based on trust. In the ideal situation the manager outlines the kind of player he wants — say, an attacking left-footed midfielder, physically strong but athletic and quick — and the sporting director produces a list of candidates according to the club’s budget.

Then the manager and the sporting director have to agree on which is the best buy, though the sporting director will be in charge of all the financial elements of the deal. Inevitably, there will be disagreements but there has to be the ability to compromise.

When this structure has failed in this country, it has often been when there have been two very different personalities trying to do the job.

At Tottenham, City’s opponents today, they once had George Graham as manager and David Pleat as sporting director. As well as being different characters, they both had diverse playing ideas.

At Liverpool, Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish were polar opposites. And there is always a problem when a club are deemed to have spent their transfer money unwisely. Who do you sack Usually it’s the manager, though at Liverpool both ended up paying with their jobs.

Uneasy alliance: Directors of football, such as Damien Comolli (left) have seldom gelled with managers in England, as Kenny Dalglish discovered during his second spell at Liverpool

Uneasy alliance: Directors of football, such as Damien Comolli (left) have seldom gelled with managers in England, as Kenny Dalglish discovered during his second spell at Liverpool

And while the role may seem alien to us, even the strongest managers in England have actually often worked in tandem with a director they trusted. Think of David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson or David Dein and Arsene Wenger. Those relationships can be the heart and soul of a club.

Sir Alex has always said that he took huge comfort in his early days at United from the fact that Sir Bobby Charlton was a club director because he knew he had a voice in the boardroom that was a football man protecting him, who could see the progress behind the scenes.

Will Mancini now have a similar ally in the boardroom, backing his ideas He has already done a magnificent job, winning the FA Cup and Premier League after that 35-year wait for a trophy. You would imagine that the stability of backing a title-winning manager would be the way forward.

And certainly Mancini seems to have a very good relationship with Khaldoon al Mubarak. Their mutual trust at the end of last season, when the team were struggling, was probably crucial to City winning the title.

But look at how Real Madrid got rid of Fabio Capello after winning the title in 2007 or Roman Abramovich lost faith in Jose Mourinho the same year after he had won two Premier League titles and the FA Cup. Sometimes winning isn’t enough these days. You also have to fit the brand.

Does Roberto Mancini fit the brand that Begiristain has been instructed to build at Manchester City It will be fascinating to watch over the next few months as we find out.

Manchester City talking to Barcelona"s former director of youth Jose Ramon Alesanco

City continue following Barca blueprint with move for former youth team director Alesanco

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 31 October 2012

Manchester City are in talks over a role for Barcelona's former director of youth Jose Ramon Alesanco, while also showing interest in Real Betis midfielder Benat.

The stylish Spain international, 25, is struggling to agree new terms on his contract at Betis and can leave for his buy-out clause of 16million.

The Premier League champions have already appointed former Barca staff Txiki Begiristain as director of football and Ferran Soriano as chief executive as they bid to put the club permanently at Europe's top table.

Going for the top: Manchester City are continuing to build 'Barcelona Two'

Going for the top: Manchester City are continuing to build 'Barcelona Two'

With the Barca-blueprint seemingly the one to follow, City were forced to deny that Roberto Mancini's job was under threat from Pep Guardiola, who is currently out of work.

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 earlier this month.

'No, 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.'

Manchester City close to signing former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain

City closing in on deal with former Barcelona director Begiristain as Chelsea and Spurs lurk

PUBLISHED:

17:18 GMT, 25 October 2012

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 25 October 2012

Manchester City are close to persuading former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain to join the club.

In a move which will spell re-organisation behind the scenes at Eastlands, the 48-year-old is ready to team up with his friend, City chief executive and former Barca vice-president, Ferran Soriano despite been courted by Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.

He will take up a technical director role which will give him responsibility for recruitment and will also look to bring in former Johan Cruyff adviser Joan Patsy.

Join me: Chief executive of Manchester City Ferran Soriano, pictured, could greet his old friend Txiki Begiristain at the club

Join me: Chief executive of Manchester City Ferran Soriano, pictured, could greet his old friend Txiki Begiristain at the club

Begiristain is also a close ally of Pep Guardiola and, following City’s performance against Ajax in the Champions League, the appointment will only further speculation that under-fire coach Roberto Mancini will be replaced by the wily Spaniard.

However, Guardiola is determined to see out his year’s sabbatical despite the likes of Chelsea, AC Milan and Bayern Munich also all maintaining an interest in his next move.

Begiristain, who was an attacking midfielder for John Toshack’s Real Sociedad and Barcelona’s ‘Dream Team’ of the early 1990s, spent seven years as director of football at Barcelona before leaving in 2010.

He was responsible for bringing in the like of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Dani Alves while maintaining the development of La Masia programme which spawned talent such as Lionel Messi.

Coup: Begiristain was responsible for bringing in the likes of Samuel Eto'o (left) at Barcelona

Coup: Begiristain was responsible for bringing in the likes of Samuel Eto'o (left) at Barcelona

Clash: Roberto Mancini has clashed with football administrator Brian Marwood over this season's summer signings, including Javi Garcia (left)

Clash: Roberto Mancini has clashed with Brian Marwood over this season's summer signings, including Javi Garcia, above, and Jack Rodwell, below left

Clash: Roberto Mancini has clashed with football administrator Brian Marwood over this season's summer signings, including Jack Rodwell (left)

His arrival would also change responsibilities for football administrator Brian Marwood who has clashed with Mancini over player recruitment.

Tottenham were very keen for Begiristain to join and he was interested in a move to London but a move to City will underline his belief that they are building the right project to dominate European football.

Celtic chief scout John Park is among other contenders for the role at Tottenham.

EXCLUSIVE: David Silva to sign new deal at Manchester City

EXCLUSIVE: Silva strikes gold at City with 200k a week deal despite Real interest

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 16 September 2012

Manchester City are on the verge of agreeing a new 200,000-a-week contract with forward David Silva.

The club have been negotiating with Silva all summer as they look to tie one of Europe's hottest properties to a deal for the next five years.

As reported in Sportsmail last month, talks reached a worrying stalemate during pre-season as City struggled to deal with the Spaniard's wage demands.

Silva lining: David Silva (left) is ready to sign a new deal at Manchester City

Silva lining: David Silva (left) is ready to sign a new deal at Manchester City

However, it is understood the arrival of Spanish chief executive Ferran Soriano has given the issue fresh impetus and the club are hopeful of agreeing terms within two weeks.

Tuesday night's Champions League opponents Real Madrid have been tracking Silva's situation at the Etihad Stadium and have asked the 26-year-old's representatives to keep them informed of any problem with his negotiations with City.

Silva is aware of Madrid's interest and has been tempted by a return to Spain.

However, he now looks certain to commit himself to City for the best years of his career.

The club have structured Silva's new deal to give him a basic wage that puts him around the pay levels enjoyed by top earners Carlos Tevez, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure.

The incentives are such, though, that success in the Premier League and Champions League over the coming seasons will see his pay tip the 250,000-a-week mark.

Class act: Silva was instrumental when City lifted the Premier League last season

Class act: Silva was instrumental when City lifted the Premier League last season

Class act: Silva was instrumental when City lifted the Premier League last season

Class act: Silva was instrumental when City lifted the Premier League last season

Roberto Mancini frets as Manchester City look "poor relations" of transfer market

Mancini frets as Man City look 'poor relations' of transfer market

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 18 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Roberto Mancini's grand five-year plan
for Manchester City is in danger of hitting the buffers only weeks
after the Italian signed a 37million long-term contract with the club.

Mancini has not been fobbed off by
last weekend's 12m signing of youngster Jack Rodwell and wants three
ready-made first-team players before the end of the transfer window,
including Liverpool defender Daniel Agger and Roma's Italy midfielder
Daniele De Rossi.

City start the defence of their Premier
League crown against Southampton on Sunday, with Mancini still fretting
about the lack of his club's transfer activity compared to Manchester
United, who have captured Footballer of the Year Robin van Persie and
Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa from the Bundesliga champions Borussia
Dortmund.

Roberto Mancini, Manchester City manager, and his Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, have a lengthy and intense conversation

Making his point: Roberto Mancini collared chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak during training on Saturday…

Roberto Mancini, Manchester City manager and his Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak

… Khaldoon tried to placate his manager during a lively and intense debate…

Roberto Mancini, Manchester City manager, and his Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, have a lengthy and intense conversation

… and the pair parted on good terms, so could City be about to do some more business in the transfer market

Mancini has set himself the ambitious target of trying to match the biggest clubs in Europe, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, over the tenure of his contract.

But he is facing difficulties from within his own club, who are keen for FIFA's fair play regulations to work to prevent wealthy investors from Qatar, China and India from pumping money into other clubs as they have done with City.

City hope the appointment of new chief executive Ferran Soriano, a former Barcelona vice-president, will help smooth the relationship between Mancini and Brian Marwood, who controls City's transfer policy.

'I'm happy with Jack (Rodwell) because he is young and a really good player. But we need to have other players,' said Mancini.

'When the Champions League starts, we will be playing every three days for 10 months. This is not easy if we don't have players.

'We could also lose Yaya Toure when the Africa Cup of Nations is played in January.

'We will work hard to get players before the window closes in the next 10 days, but it will be difficult.'

New recruit: Mancini with Jack Rodwell

New recruit: Mancini with Jack Rodwell

Mancini was offered a king's ransom to manage Russia but stayed loyal to City, an easy choice perhaps after the drama of winning the title with virtually the last kick of last season.

But he is not content to rest on his laurels. 'It is important to stay on top and fight for the title every year,' he said.

'But it won't be easy. Clubs like Real Madrid have 100 years of history winning trophies.'

Swansea City winger Scott Sinclair is another target and his arrival would allow Mancini to consider letting City's England international Adam Johnson go out on loan. Johnson has expressed frustration with not playing regularly at the Etihad and Mancini sympathises with his situation.

City kicked off last season by defeating a newly promoted Swansea City 4-0 and they will be expected to rack up a similar scoreline against Southampton today.

But Mancini doesn't see the season as a shootout between City and United.

'I think Chelsea will buy other players and also Arsenal will change after Van Persie. They have bought good players, and it's the same at Liverpool with a change of manager. They will be better than last year, and also Tottenham. I think it will be a fight with four or five other teams,' he said.

'After last season, I just hope we can maybe win the league with one game to spare!'

City hope Joe Hart has recovered from a back injury to face Southampton but Micah Richards and Gareth Barry are both ruled out. Rodwell remains the club's only signing of the window so far.

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.