With their seven-minute capitulation at White Hart Lane on Sunday, Manchester City all but ensured the sky blue ribbons on the Premier League trophy will be replaced with red ones at the end of this campaign.
Roberto Mancini has watched his world-class side drop 31 league points—six more than they dropped all season in 2011-12—while a number of players have appeared to lack the hunger for a second consecutive title.
The Italian is generally admired at Eastlands, but their lack of fight in the domestic race and a winless Champions League campaign have fuelled rumors of his impending departure.
If Mancini is given his marching orders, here are five managers who could steer the Manchester City ship back in the right direction...
Thanks to owner Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani's reticence to pay Malaga's bills—and the players' wages—the Spanish club finds itself facing a ban from UEFA competitions and having to sell talent like Santi Cazorla and Joris Mathijsen.
Despite the turmoil and an increasingly untenable position, manager Manual Pellegrini led Los Boquerones to the Champions League quarterfinals and has kept them competitive in La Liga this season.
In February, The Express even went as far as saying Pellegrini had "verbally agreed" to join the Citizens next season. But that report was based on a Chilean TV report that is unsubstantiated elsewhere.
Pellegrini has little experience outside of Spanish-speaking countries, and he faltered on the big stage when he was in charge at Real Madrid. But he is well respected in the game and is undoubtedly keen to work for a Sheikh who actually wants his side to succeed!
Jose Mourinho has failed to win over the Real Madrid faithful, despite delivering a record-breaking season last year and being on track to deliver La Decima—the much-anticipated 10th European Cup—in this campaign.
The Special One has made little secret of his desire to leave Madrid and has flirted with the idea of returning to Chelsea.
However, if the Portuguese coach decides not to drink from Roman Abramovich's poisoned chalice for a second time—and if rumours that the aforementioned Manuel Pellegrini is the preferred candidate in South London are true—he will be very welcomed at Manchester City.
If it's trophies that the Citizens want, few managers can boast a success rate quite like Mou. The Real Madrid coach has also made it clear that he would like to return to English football to face Sir Alex Ferguson as a domestic adversary once more. Where better to do that than with the noisy neighbours down the street?
However, working against Mou's potential as a Mancini replacement are club chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain, who overlooked the cocky Portuguese when they were bringing a new manager to Barcelona in 2008.
In his third season as a manager, Dutch legend Frank De Boer is on his way to collecting his third consecutive Eredivisie title with Ajax.
The former defender would have impressed City officials during Ajax's 3-1 victory over Mancini's side last October. According to The Telegraph, De Boer is already well known to the aforementioned Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, and he "fits their profile."
The Mail, meanwhile, described De Boer as City's "leading candidate to replace Roberto Mancini" in March.
Earlier this month, FDB admitted he would like to become Manchester City boss (via The Mirror), but said it would be difficult for his family to move abroad.
City aren't the only ones interested in De Boer's services. The Daily Star believes they will get competition from Chelsea, while Arsenal may have an advantage in the race thanks to his assistant Dennis Bergkamp and director of football Marc Overmars.
Once the recipient of a famous petulant David Beckham kick, Diego Simeone has carved out a successful managerial career.
With current club Atletico Madrid, the Argentinean has won the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup and has kept his side in Champions League contention this season.
Insidespanishfootball.com are among those who believe City are lining up Simeone to join fellow countrymen Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero in Manchester.
A move for Simeone, however, seems less likely, as the Argentinean recently signed a contract to keep him at the Vicente Calderon until 2017. Also, one would imagine he would be keen to build on his success at Atletico this season by guiding them through the Champions League next term.
Manchester City have had eight Scottish managers in their history, with just two FA Cups to show for their collective effort. Suffice to say, much more silverware would be expected of Scotsman David Moyes if he were brought to Eastlands next season!
England's third-longest serving manager has been linked with a move away from Everton by sources, including The Daily Mail, with many believing he has hit a ceiling within the financial constraints of the club.
I believe Moyes is a strong contender for the City job, but the Toffees boss has been earmarked as a potential replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson for many years. In fact, he is currently favourite with the bookmakers to succeed his fellow countryman at Old Trafford.
Knowing he could take a job at the Theatre of Dreams in a few seasons may persuade Moyes to stay at Goodison Park in the meantime.