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Will Begiristain's arrival add to the pressure on Mancini?

Question marks are once again being raised with regards the Italian's future.

Clive Brunskill

There is no questioning the pedigree. For City to bring in a proven hitter such as Txiki Begiristain as Sporting Director signals further intent from the ownership with regards their intentions to both put the club, and ensure they remain, firmly entrenched amongst the company of the footballing elite.

Perhaps it was always to be expected that Begiristain would arrive at the club following the appointment of Ferran Sorriano as Chief Executive, given the pair operated with such success at Barcelona under Frank Riijkaard, and more latterly Pep Guardiola, to even greater effect.

The move sees incumbent Brian Marwood effectively moves sideways to oversee the Academy set up, something, if reports are to believed, Roberto Mancini will not be shedding too many tears over. Mancini of course butted heads with Marwood over the summer; principally about the timing of when players were brought in but as there also a disappointment in missing out on the preferred targets of Robin Van Persie and Javi Martinez, settling instead for a series of 'B-list' signings ho have made little or no impact to date?

What the appointment of Begiristain does confirm is the intention of ownership to put in place a very clear structure, with defined reporting lines through the chain of command (that could, theoretically, easily accomodate a change in manager). How this sits with Mancini, or more specifically his ability to exist within this structure, may well determine his longevity at the club. We know that Mancini possesses a brusque manner, a trait stemming back to his early playing days where the prospect of ruffling feathers appeared not to phase him, even if counting to ten before acting maybe the more advisable course of action.

Mancini has spoken previously of wanting 'total control' at City, a degree of power he has enjoyed on occasion, but rarely afforded to managers in this day and age with the exception of the likes of Ferguson or Wenger. Whilst he may be pleased to see the back of Marwood, and indeed even view the move as a victory of sorts, does the decision to bring in Begiristain see him cede some of his power and ultimately weaken his position? At first glance it appears not; he will still be involved in terms of player recruitment to the degree he as previously and a look at the coaching structure illustrates the degree of control he has over this aspect of the club.

However, it does appear that Begiristain will enjoy a degree of seniority of Mancini, and has the long standing relationship with Soriano, and where he may fall down is if he feels it to be a challenge to his authority. Mancini with a dented pride does not make for a happy fellow and this could be his downfall if he believes (rightly or wrongly) that the move has been made to clip his wings. A number of reports surfaced over the weekend (notably James Ducker in The Times) that suggested his '...future was already being debated with the club on the brink of elimination from the Champions League...and patience wearing thin at Mancini's propensity to cause conflict behind the scenes.'

Of course, there is now also a Pep Guardiola shaped elephant in the room, the former Barcelona manager (and lest we forget the man appointed by Sorriano and Begiristain) currently on a twelve-month sabbatical from the game. Reports linking Guardiola with a move to City were quickly rubbished but this is an inevitably that will continue to persist simply by virtue of association.

The arrivals of both Sorriano and Begiristain occurred after the start of the season so Mancini will not be beholden by any pre-season targets but with mounting a serious bid to regain their Premier League title is a pre-requisitive, whilst impending Champions League elimination will raise doubts over his long term ability to deliver success on the European stage.

Mancini may have to be convinced as to the merits of the new structure and the direction it will ultimately take, but equally, he may find the situation to be very much a two-way street.