Man City targets trophy haul
Manchester City's new manager will join a club expecting to win five trophies in the next five years - a period that could represent his shelf-life in the job.
That is the ambition underlined this week by chief executive Ferran Soriano, who is overseeing an overhaul of City's structure as well as the appointment of Roberto Mancini's replacement.
The club are aiming very high - evidenced in the recent decision to sack Mancini after finishing second in the Premier League - and want stability to achieve that.
But interestingly they see that stability coming through the framework, headed up by the director of football, within which the team operates, rather than in finding a coach who can last long term.
Soriano has made little of the club's intentions public since his appointment last August but the former Barcelona executive met media in New York this week to discuss a wide range of topics.
He said: "I think that next season is going to be much better, I am convinced about that.
"It doesn't mean we are going to win one or two titles, but in the grand scheme of things, if we look at the next five years and I could plan now, I would say I want to win five trophies in the next five years.
"If next year we don't win, but progress our football and get to the semi-finals of the Champions League, finish second in the Premier League and lose the FA Cup final again, that will be fine."
Mancini lasted three and a half years at the Etihad Stadium and his successor - widely expected to be Malaga's outgoing boss Manuel Pellegrini - may not get any longer.
Soriano said: "Three years in football is a long time.
"In football, teams have cycles and you can have managers who go through several cycles and managers who go through one cycle.
"It will depend. Obviously, we want the next manager to stay for a number of years, but I think it would not be wise to speculate on the next manager being there for 26 years (as Sir Alex Ferguson did at Manchester United).
"This is an exception and I think three, four, five years is one cycle.
"Maybe a manager can do one or two cycles, but people get tired."
City have not yet confirmed 59-year-old veteran Pellegrini is the man they want to take charge next season but, when asked, Soriano did nothing to deny the intense speculation linking them with the Chilean.
Pellegrini, also a former Real Madrid coach, has taken both Malaga and Villarreal to the latter stages of the Champions League while earning plaudits for his style of play and man-management.
Soriano said: "I think the boxes are right. You know what we want.
"The analysis of the candidates goes beyond the results that we can see.
"Age is not relevant at this point, but with the kind of squad we have, we want a senior manager.
"We want a manager who knows about football but we want somebody who knows about man management and this is something we are convinced about - myself, the board, the owner - that it is impossible for us to win, win the Champions League, if we don't have a group that behaves like a family."
Those comments could be a reference to recent rumors of disharmony within the camp during Mancini's reign, although Soriano believes those stories were overplayed.
He said: "I think it has been a bit exaggerated.
"We are not too worried about this and it's not the reason why we decided to change the manager.
"Having said that, with the new manager we are asking him that the dressing room has as much harmony as possible, knowing that total harmony is impossible."
Mancini oversaw considerable success in relative terms, ending a 35-year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup in 2011 and topping that with last year's dramatic Premier League victory.
But City expected the team to build on that achievement - and not only in terms of winning more trophies but also by playing better football.
Soriano said: "It's about good football and good results.
"We can lose the final of the FA Cup, disappointing as it was, but it is not about one game, it is about whether the football we play evolves properly.
"In the last year, I think it's fair to say that it didn't.
"I think for the new owners of City to have had only two managers in five years is very good.
"It shows the willingness to have a very stable managerial team.
"Roberto Mancini did very good for the club. He changed the mentality, he changed it from a club that was not winning to a winning club and that is very hard.
"That is all good and we are thankful. We are now looking for several things.
"We are looking to play good football and to win and I said that in the right order. If you play good football you will win.
"The squad we have is a squad capable of winning the Premier League and is not a squad that should be kicked out at the first group stage of the Champions League."
Mancini often cited a failure to land his prime transfer targets last summer as one of the chief reasons for the team's lack of development.
Soriano admitted his complaints were not helpful.
He said: "What we want is not the image of unity - we want the unity.
"Everybody has his personality and his style and there are some cultural issues here.
"We were not very worried about this public criticism. It is something we don't like but we are not going to hide.
"If somebody wants to criticize, it is their problem.
"What we do want to say is that none of the criticisms out there were, in my mind, real."
The next manager is likely to be given new players this summer although director of football Txiki Begiristain will be the prime mover in identifying them.
Soriano said: "The director of football has, and has to have, a long-term view.
"So what we are asking him to do is build a squad, but also football concepts, and a way of working that will last for the next 10 years. The manager has a shorter span."
When asked if new signings were imminent, Soriano said: "We are at the closing phase with several of them but the closing phase can take one week or three months."
Soriano dismissed suggestions record £38million signing Sergio Aguero could leave the club.
He said: "This has gone on and on and on.
"We have had discussions with Sergio and his agent about several things and he has never expressed the willingness to go.
"We have never had an offer and even if we had an offer we would say no."
Gareth Barry and Carlos Tevez, both now entering the final year of their contracts, could be offered new deals.
Soriano said: "They are obviously two very good players and the discussions are going to take place."