Are Manchester City turning into Barcelona?
Roberto Mancini’s squad hasn’t exactly undergone a major transformation since they became champions in May, but behind the scenes Manchester City are making sweeping changes. This week former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain arrived to take up a similar role at the Etihad Stadium. Here, the Life’s a Pitch team debate their restructuring process, and wonder if the ultimate aim of owner Sheik Mansour is to turn City into the new Barcelona.
Although Man City remain unbeaten in the Premier League, their performances in Europe – and reports of unrest in the dressing room – have raised question marks over Mancini’s future. So, is Begiristain’s appointment a sign that former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola is on his way to the champions?
The Guardian’s Dominic Fifield thinks the possibility must have entered Mancini’s mind. “Guardiola’s available, he’s hanging around all these big clubs at the moment like a spectre, waiting to come in at one of them,” he says. “But maybe he [Mancini] will work better with Begiristain than he did with [the Spaniard's predecessor] Brian Marwood? Let’s see whether that relationship develops. It must be a nagging doubt at the back of his mind that City are turning into Barcelona, and Barcelona’s most celebrated recent manager is out there and available.”
John Cross of the Daily Mirror sees the Spaniard’s arrival in place of Marwood as a positive. “I think this appointment is a sign that the club are backing Mancini, because he had a power struggle with Marwood last summer. Mancini wanted to strengthen the squad significantly, and felt frustrated and angry that he wasn’t allowed to do so.”
Thanks to an email circulated among the media this week, the Sunday Mirror’s David Walker is clear on the vision City have for the future. He says: “According to the Sheikh Mansour email they are looking to have a balanced economy, they’re trying to develop their own young players – citing the success Barcelona had with Begiristain there – and want to have a host of home-grown players. The counter to that is it’s a bit easier to attract players to FC Barcelona when you’re representing the whole Catalan nation – City don’t even represent the whole of Manchester.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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