Talking Point: Mancini casualty of new direction
Three hundred and sixty five days after bringing the Premier League title to the blue half of Manchester, Roberto Mancini was gone. The general consensus is that the Italian`s removal was harsh and there`s certainly an argument in his favour. However, when you scratch beneath the surface, it looks a step in the right direction.
Of course, in three full seasons at the Etihad Stadium he brought the club their first Premier League title, won an F.A Cup and lost another final.
Had it not been for defeat against Wigan on Saturday, he would have been sacked after three trophies in as many seasons.
This decision was certainly not a snap-decision off the back of the disappointment at not beating Roberto Martinez`s side on Saturday, this was a calculated decision was has almost certainly been weeks, if not months in the making.
The pertinent part of the above statement is that he would still have been sacked. That is merely conjecture, but the majority of the press pack had suggested as much too and they are usually a good indicator.
Mancini has made it painstakingly clear this season that he believes City`s mistake was not signing Robin van Persie last summer when they had the chance. Van Persie, of course, went to Manchester United and the rest is history.
The Citizens were also alleged to have been in the running for Eden Hazard too, but the Belgian ended up at Chelsea.
Obviously City are rich enough to blow anybody out of the water financially, but the point is that those days are gone, there is a new football hierarchy at the club and the club are gradually moving in a different direction - a direction Mancini was not on-board with.
Former Barcelona pair Ferran Soriano (CEO) and Txiki Begiristain (Director of Football) are in charge now and their policy is not spending a hundred million each and every summer at the whim of the current manager, there is a genuine strategy which they intend to implement.
The success that the two oversaw at Barcelona was based predominantly on a core of world-class players - Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Dani Alves and Carles Puyol.
Below the world-class players are a core of good, reliable 'squad players` - players such as Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Javier Mascherano.
Below that calibre of player are a number of supplementary young, homegrown talents - Cristian Tello, Isaac Cuenca, Marc Bartra and so on.
Applying that model to City, there are already half a dozen world-class players at the club: Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.
Below those six there are plenty of solid professionals: Gareth Barry, James Milner, Gael Clichy, Micah Richards, Aleksandr Kolarov, Edin Dzeko and so on
The real problem lies under that - where are the young players coming through?
There`s the highly-rated Swede John Guidetti who`s been on-loan at Feyenoord, but apart from that, is there really anyone else? - there are players who have been purchased, such as Matija Nastasic and Jack Rodwell, bet genuinely homegrown players are at a premium.
Therein lies the challenge for Soriano, Begiristain and City`s youth development staff, producing their own youngsters. It`s cost effective and with Financial Fair Play about to kick in properly, an important part of the club progressing.
With the Etihad Campus being built at great expense, the expectation will undoubtedly be that City start producing more of their own players through the academy.
Mancini`s answer to the club` failure to retain the Premier League or to compete in the Champions League was going to be to throw more money at the problem, but again, this was not in the blueprint of Soriano and Begiristain and so from a purely business point of view, Mancini was on very thin ice at the Etihad.
Disposing of a manager who won the title just 12 month previously was never going to go down well with supporters but in the cold light of day, Manchester City are trying to move in a different direction and Mancini wasn`t prepared to budge.
There was very little point in getting any further down the line and causing more problems when the root of the problem could so easily be dispatched with.