Pep Guardiola tipped to take over from Mancini at Man City
The arrival of Txiki Begiristain at the Etihad gets tongues wagging as City fail to impress once again
PEP GUARDIOLA is being tipped to become the next manager of Manchester City after his "mentor" at Barcelona, Txiki Begiristain, was appointed director of football at the Etihad, as City's current boss, Roberto Mancini, cuts an increasingly frazzled figure on the touchline.
City overcame Swansea on Saturday but the nature of the win was unimpressive, and with City all-but eliminated from the Champions League already speculation about a change of manager has been rife.
"Why is it that a team featuring so many luxury options can look so bargain basement?" asked The Times. "That they delivered such a disjointed performance for a second successive game after a damaging defeat to Ajax makes the need for internal scrutiny all the more urgent."
But changes are already afoot behind the scenes at City. Begiristain was unveiled as the new director of football at the weekend. His arrival follows that of Ferran Soriano, the former Barcelona vice president, who became the club's chief executive in August.
With the Barcelona connection now well-established the Times describes Guardiola as "the elephant in the room".
The Guardian points out that it was Begiristain who made Guardiola manager at the Camp Nou after Barcelona surprised many by sacking European Cup-winning manager Frank Rijkaard in 2008.
ESPN reports that City has strongly denied rumours of Mancini's demise, and the sports website suggests that the Spaniard is more likely to end up at Chelsea.
But how Mancini gets on with Begiristain remains to be seen. The Times points out that the Spaniard has been brought in to replace Brian Marwood, who previously oversaw the club's transfer policy but had fallen out with Mancini.
"Begiristain’s standing in the game is likely to command more respect from Mancini than Marwood, [but] the manager... wanted to be able to call the shots in transfers," said the paper. "Mancini’s capacity for confrontation has become a mounting source of frustration behind the scenes but neither Begiristain nor Soriano will be prepared to tolerate the kind of treatment Marwood endured."