Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini emerges as leading candidate to takeover Italy after Euro 2012
ROBERTO Mancini could face a choice between the Italy job and signing a new contract at Manchester City after emerging as the leading candidate to succeed Cesare Prandelli if he leaves his post following Euro 2012.
Mancini, who guided City to the Premier League title last season, has yet to commit to a new deal at the Etihad Stadium, despite opening talks with the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi last month over an extension to his contract, which is due to expire in 12 months.
The 47 year-old, who is on holiday in Sardinia, had been handed the opportunity to begin negotiations to extend his City contract last December, but instead asked the club to wait until the summer in order to avoid distractions during the second half of the campaign.
Mancini’s success at City, following three Italian titles with Inter Milan, has earned him the admiration of senior figures within the Italian Football Federation and it is understood that he has been earmarked as first choice to replace Prandelli if Italy fail to deliver in Poland and Ukraine.
Former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, who is coaching Paris St Germain, is another respected figure in Italy, but Mancini is regarded as the outstanding Italian manager of the moment. Fabio Capello, meanwhile, is not viewed as a contender to succeed Prandelli.
While discussions over a new long-term contract at City are expected to be a formality, the prospect of coaching Italy at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil could prove tempting to Mancini should Prandelli’s two-year reign in charge of the Azzurri come to an end following the European Championship.
The future of former Fiorentina coach Prandelli has been the subject of ongoing speculation in Italy due to suggestions that he is keen to return to club management.
The 54 year-old is understood to be frustrated with the role of coaching at international level and, with Italy due to start their Group C campaign against Spain in Gdansk on Sunday, sources in Italy have claimed that a poor tournament could see Prandelli and the Italian Football Federation part company this summer.
Last month, Prandelli attempted to end the rumours of his discontent by claiming: “I have a contract with the Federation until 2014 and intend to respect it.
“I really want to go forward, even though I know very well that all the coaches, even the national team, are tied to results.”
Mancini has admitted in the past that he has ambitions to manage Italy at some stage in his career, but with City seemingly on the brink of challenging for the Champions League — a competition Mancini has yet to win — he could face a difficult decision should Prandelli leave his job in the coming weeks.
But the lure of managing his country at a World Cup in Brazil could be viewed as a greater and more rewarding challenge for a man whose international playing career proved a frustrating case of unfulfilled ambitions, with just 36 caps in 10 years.