Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pellegrini Has His Work Cut out at City to Avoid the Fate of Ramos

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pellegrini Has His Work Cut out at City to Avoid the Fate of Ramos

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Barclay on Monday

SIR ALEX FERGUSON'S choice of Manchester United manager was David Moyes. But who, given a power of mischievous decision, would he have chosen for Manchester City? An image comes to mind of Manuel Pellegrini.

This, after all, is the route down which Tottenham went in 2007. The similarity extends to an initially bungled courtship -- Spurs were spotted dining Juande Ramos in Spain, just as City's interest in Pellegrini became public a few weeks ago -- and is not hard to explain for if you are going to adopt a footballing culture, it might as well be the Hispanic.

It makes as much sense now as when Spurs gazed in admiration at Ramos's Sevilla, twice winners of the UEFA Cup. Bayern Munich, after all, have turned away from the fashion for all things German in hiring Pep Guardiola, who learned everything he knows in La Liga.

Even after those chastening Champions League semi-finals, it must be conceded that the leaders of the Spanish game, Barcelona and Real Madrid, have outperformed anything England has to offer (the latter with the help of a dodgy decision at Old Trafford). So creating an outpost of La Liga in the Premier League must seem as wise a strategy as any.

Not least to Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain; they are the men who opted for Pellegrini, who appears likely to move to Eastlands despite his denial today, after being plucked from Barcelona to oversee the next stage of City's attempt to define themselves and sink roots capable of growing into something bigger than United.

If it works -- if history judges it as City's equivalent of the pursuit of Ferguson in 1986, when members of the Scotland squad in Mexico for the World Cup noticed Sir Bobby Charlton taking an inordinate interest in their training sessions -- the English game will owe Soriano and Begiristain every honour it can bestow. …

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