According to a report from AS.com, Manuel Pellegrini is preparing to leave his post at Malaga and take over for Roberto Mancini at Manchester City. The move has been anticipated for quite some time, but this latest news links Pellegrini to the move for good—one that would end Mancini's four-year run with City.
UPDATE: Saturday, May 11 at 2:40 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway
If Mancini wasn't out at Manchester City before Saturday's FA Cup, he's almost certainly facing an ouster now. City lost their match versus Wigan Athletic, 1-0, in a result that is one of the bigger upsets in recent FA Cup history.
As pointed out by Fox Soccer's Twitter feed, this is Wigan's first FA Cup championship:
FOX Sports @FOXSports
History for Wigan! A 1-0 victory over Manchester City to claim their first-ever FA Cup!2013-5-11 18:19:02
With a roster that costs far less than City's high-profile lineup, Wigan came into Saturday's match a heavy underdog. Sports Illustrated's Bryan A. Graham has the details on the cost discrepancy between the two clubs:
Bryan Armen Graham @BryanAGraham
Wigan (whose starting XI cost £11.5 million) has beaten Manchester City (£187 million) in the FA Cup final.2013-5-11 18:40:40
Nevertheless, it's unclear if even a win Saturday could have saved Mancini.
---End of update---
The report links City's Director of Football, Txiki Bergiristain, to the move, and claims that Pellegrini has already notified his players that he will not be continuing with his current club next season. Here's an excerpt from the piece:
Mancini still has a further four years to run on his contract with City but there has been a question mark hanging over his future since City failed to qualify from the group stage of the this year's Champions League. Pellegrini's contract at Málaga expires in 2015 but he will be able to untie himself from the Andalucian club by paying the four million euro buy-out fee.
The report also comes just a few days after Pellegrini remained coy about his future with Malaga (via AS.com), and just hours after Mancini addressed the media before the FA Cup final to both dismiss rumors of an impending exit while also clarifying that in this business, anything is possible.
Mancini had this to say on Saturday afternoon (via Fox Sports):
I won seven trophies at Inter in four years and they sacked me after four years," said the 48-year-old, at his pre-match press conference. This is football. I know football enough to understand this situation.
In four years with City, Mancini has a 59.4 percent winning mark. He's turned a disappointing club back into a Premier League contender, helping the side get back to Champions League and FA Cup play, and helping City to their first league title in 44 years on the final day of the 2011-12 season.
Fans at Wembley Stadium have heard the rumors for the majority of the end of the regular season, and the news apparently leaked out into the stands as City battled with Wigan on Saturday afternoon. According to Henry Winter, fans at Wembley aren't pining for Pellegrini at all:
Henry Winter @henrywinter
As Pellegrini lurks, Mancini getting relentless backing from #mcfc fans here at Wembley2013-5-11 16:12:37
Oliver Kay took it a step further (NSFW):
Oliver Kay @OliverKayTimes
#MCFC fans chanting loudly for Mancini and now singing: "You can stick your Pellegrini up your arse" ...2013-5-11 16:23:13
Pellegrini has won just over 40 percent of his matches with Malaga in parts of three seasons with the club. His most notable managerial stop was with Real Madrid during the 2009-10 season, when he helped the club to 36-7-5 mark before moving on to Malaga.