Roberto Mancini job in doubt due to disarray engulfing Manchester City

Club hierarchy growing tired of poor results and divisions in dressing room

Barcelona

Roberto Mancini's Manchester City future is not guaranteed beyond the end of the season and the club's chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, will review whether the Italian's abrasive management style is helping to move the club forward, if they lose out to Manchester United in the title race.

The relationship between Mancini and Al-Mubarak has always been a good one and the manager's more ruthless mentality than his predecessor, Mark Hughes, is perceived to have been a vital asset by the Abu Dhabis, with whom Mancini has established far closer direct relations than Hughes ever did. But Mancini's determination to stick with Mario Balotelli in a season when he has publicly challenged other players is having an increasingly divisive and toxic effect in the dressing room and damaging the manager's credibility with his squad.

Narrowly losing out to United may be acceptable to City's owners – who had targeted this, their fourth season of ownership as "the year we were going to go for it" and "win the league". But a more substantial deficit on United – six or more points, perhaps – and further evidence of the internal strife that has left James Milner as the latest disgruntled squad member may force a rethink. Mancini, who has spent £240m on 16 senior players and is at serious risk of ending the season with no silverware, has 12 months remaining on his current £3.5m-a-year deal, so the cost of parting company with him would not be substantial. He will get a new contract if he stays.

 

If Mancini can re-impose a sense of order – which Nigel de Jong tweeting from the airport en route to Amsterdam and Pablo Zabaleta flying to Barcelona yesterday did not exactly add to – he could be able to argue that he has finished the current Premier League campaign with the most points of any second-placed side. But despite Abu Dhabi's delight with the season until February, Mancini's personal relationships with those in the dressing room and beyond are under question. Ahead of a summer in which a certain amount of rebuilding will be required again, the question for Al-Mubarak appears to be whether Mancini can bond a team to take the next step.

A key factor may be the availability of Jose Mourinho, whose future beyond the end of this season at Real Madrid is by no means guaranteed and who, if he brings them the Champions League and La Liga double, may decide that he can take the club no higher and leave. If Mourinho only wins the domestic title, he may stay for one more tilt at the top European prize. Madrid's ABC Punto Radio said last week that Mourinho had already negotiated a deal with City, though he denied this. As yet, there is no distinct impression from Roman Abramovich that he wants Mourinho's brand of football back at Chelsea.

The substantial advantage to City of hiring Mourinho is that he would bring with him Jorge Mendes – his agent and a deal-maker who would like to see Mourinho at City. Atletico Madrid's Colombian striker Falcao, a Mendes client, was linked to City in the Spanish media late last week.

City, who will also be aware that Guus Hiddink has a contractual clause allowing him to leave the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala this summer, are certainly likely to be in the market for a striker during what may be a busy summer, despite the stipulations of Uefa's Financial Fair Play regime. Balotelli's unpredictability may lead to his sale – whatever Mancini might say – while Edin Dzeko has not developed as the club had hoped. He, too, might go – along with Carlos Tevez, whose eagerness to return to the fold is in part motivated by a desire to make himself attractive to Milan. Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz, on loan at Tottenham and Real Betis respectively, must also be offloaded as City seek funds for a new striker. A substantial offer will be required to make Arsenal go back on Arsène Wenger's vow not to let them have Robin van Persie.

De Jong may have done enough to be in contention for a new contract offer and to be more realistic than when he turned down the club's proposal last summer, though the general need for more pace through the side may make Eden Hazard, Lille's attacking midfielder, another target. A central defender is also a top requirement as last summer's £7m gamble on Stefan Savic from Partizan Belgrade has not paid off. City have received a number of inquiries from Italy for the player and are likely to get their money back if they sell rather than loan out a man who is perceived to need experience in a less rarefied environment. Last summer's calculated gamble on Owen Hargreaves has not paid off either and he will also leave.

Such is the size of the task with which Abu Dhabi must decide whether to trust Mancini.

From the Evening Standard: Has Mancini talked himself out of a job? writes Patrick Barclay

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent