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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried