Manchester City’s academy director Brian Marwood has become the first member of the club’s hierarchy to discuss the merits of new manager Manuel Pellegrini, revealing that the Chilean clearly delivers the qualities which were felt to be lacking in his predecessor Roberto Mancini.
Pellegrini’s arrival will help City’s push to sign Spanish playmaker Isco – a deal which is still alive, contrary to suggestions that the arrival of Jesus Navas and Fernandinho have reduced the need for the 21-year-old – but Marwood said that the quality of the Chilean’s man-management was the prime asset for the club. Mancini’s own suspicion of many of the club’s English executives and ancillary staff and his desire to control transfer business made his relationship with Marwood profoundly difficult. Pellegrini, pictured, will be a de facto first team coach with director of football Txiki Begiristain driving player acquisition and he is also expected to make the dressing room a more harmonious place after the divisions of the Mancini era. Marwood also cited Pellegrini’s achievements in the Champions League, a tournament where Mancini’s record with City was demonstrably poor by comparison with the Chilean’s Villarreal reaching the 2006 semi-final against Arsenal.
“I’ve been very impressed with everything he talked about - not just in the first team,” Marwood said of Pellegrini in an interview with City’s in-house media. “You look at his record in the Champions League - with Villarreal and Malaga - it’s incredible. [Malaga] were within minutes of knocking out Borussia Dortmund [in April]. Everyone at our club knows the strength and qualities of Dortmund. We played them twice and found it very difficult.
“[There is his] man-management, too. I spoke to Roque Santa Cruz [who spent last season on loan at Malaga] and he had nothing but great things to say.”
It was significant that Pellegrini spoke repeatedly about the significance of City’s Academy in his own first interview following confirmation of his appointment. Having initially attempted to blood players like Dedryck Boyata, Mancini rarely visited the academy and afforded minimal opportunities to youth prospects.
Marwood said Pellegrini had already demonstrated an eagerness “to find out about [academy players]. I believe he will play a very important role for this club to grow into the next stage of its development. He understands all the elements of a football club, brings great experience, speaks very good English and he’ll learn the culture quickly.”
The Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has insisted the club should listen to his wishes should he desire to leave in the future. “I have a contract with the club,” the Uruguayan said. “But if one day I want to sign [for another club], Liverpool will hear the offer, as it does with other players. The word of the player, in this case mine, is important. If you need a change, you should listen to the player.”
Liverpool are close to finalising a £10m move for Sunderland’s goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as doubts surround the future of Pepe Reina. Arsenal were also interested in the Belgian international.