Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Barcelona influence at Manchester City set to increase

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Kenneth Vermeer of Ajax punches clear of Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (right) is filmed by a TV cameraman as he complains about referee Peter Rasmussen after the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (right) complains to referee Peter Rasmussen after the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (right) complains to referee Peter Rasmussen after the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City v Ajax, Champions League 6 November 2012
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied his team a penalty at th eend of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores a disallowed goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts after having a goal disallowed during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City competes with Toby Alderweireld of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Toby Alderweireld of Ajax challenges Carlos Tevez of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Samir Nasri of Manchester City is challenged by Niklas Moisander of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City reacts after his team conceded the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts after his team conceded the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Siem de Jong of Ajax celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini and Assistant David Platt have words with a TV Cameraman at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini and Vincent Kompany of Manchester City protest to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied his team a penalty at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City is restrained by team-mate Vincent Kompany as he protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied him a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied his team a penalty at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Ajax's Siem De Jong (left) turns to celebrate after scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Gareth Barry of Manchester City tangles with Lasse Schone of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Christian Eriksen of Ajax tangles with Carlos Tevez of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied him a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied his team a penalty at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City looks dejected at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City is restrained by team-mate Vincent Kompany as he protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied him a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied him a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City protests to Referee Peter Rasmussen after he denied him a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini has words with a TV Cameraman at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City FC and Ajax Amsterdam at the Etihad Stadium on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer (bottom) claims the ball at the feet of Manchester City's Sergio Aguero during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City's Carlos Tevez (left) and Ajax's Toby Alderweireld (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Ajax's Siem De Jong celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart looks towards teammate Pablo Zabaleta (right) as Ajax's Siem De Jong (left) runs away to celebrate after scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini argues with a camerman during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero looks dejected after he has a goal disallowed for offside which would of made the score 3-2 during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (right) gestures from the touchline during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (second right) is filmed by a TV cameraman as he complains about referee Peter Rasmussen after the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Barcelona's former Spanish scout Bojan Krkic is being actively considered for a similar role at Manchester City by new sporting director Txiki Begiristain, as part of the Nou Camp revolution taking place at the club.

City's manager Roberto Mancini, who has surrounded himself with Italians in most parts of the football operation, has mocked the idea that the chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and newly appointed Begiristain – who both contributed to Barcelona's emergence as arguably the world's greatest club – are lining up Pep Guardiola for his job. But Begiristain is undertaking a detailed review of the footballing operation at the club and Krkic, the Serbian father of the 22-year-old striker who takes the same name, could be in place within the next two months.



Joan Patsy, the former journalist turned sports consultant who worked alongside Johan Cruyff when he managed Barcelona, could also arrive,further increasing the former Catalan contingent.



However, it is understood that the new Spanish hierarchy do not want to be seen to be presiding over a "Barcelonafication" of the Premier League champions. Indeed, since his appointment last month Begiristain is understood not to have spoken to Guardiola.



Also, Krkic Snr, a former Red Star Belgrade player, is no ally of Guardiola, under whose management Krkic Jr failed to prosper at the Nou Camp before the club sold him to Roma last year. He has since gone on loan to AC Milan.



The ideal scenario for the new sporting director would be Mancini putting this autumn's Champions League struggles behind him and continuing to lead the club's on-field progress.



Sources in Spain yesterday strongly rejected suggestions that Begiristain's arrival means that the Brazil forward Neymar will be signed by City at Mancini's request. Begiristain is said to want to complete his fact-finding work before pursuing a major new target.



There is a precedent for Soriano allowing the manager, rather than the sporting director, to have his way on transfers. In 2006, the Nou Camp manager Frank Rijkaard wanted to sign Eidur Gudjohnsen from Chelsea, while Begiristain wanted Diego Forlan, then at Villarreal. Gudjohnsen was signed for what was to be an unsuccessful three-year spell.

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