Manuel Pellegrini joins Manchester City on a three-year contract from Malaga
The Chilean replaces Italian Roberto Mancini, who was fired in May
Manchester City will try to reclaim the Premier League title next season
Manchester City hired Manuel Pellegrini as its new manager Friday and he was given the clear message that one of his tasks will be to develop younger players alongside the expensive stars bankrolled by wealthy owner Sheikh Mansour.
The 59-year-old Pellegrini signed a three-year contract and will begin his role as Roberto Mancini’s successor on June 24, the English Premier League club said on its website.
Mancini steered City to its first top-flight title in 44 years in 2012 but last season it lagged 11 points behind Manchester United, struggled in Europe and suffered a shock defeat in the FA Cup final.
“Roberto did a great job, it’s not easy to win the title after 43, 44 years,” Pellegrini said. “But I think now we start a new cycle, adding to what Roberto has done.”
The Chilean possesses 25 years of managerial experience, most recently coaching Spanish club Malaga. Like Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea, Pellegrini was widely expected to join Manchester City following the departure of Mancini.
“He shares the club’s approach to football and our ambition to achieve onfield success, coordinating with the wider football support teams to ensure natural progression from the Academy to senior level,” said Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano.
After completing a reported $300 million takeover of Manchester City in 2008, Sheikh Mansour has proceeded to spend more than $600 million on players such as Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure.
In contrast, Manchester United’s success over the past two decades was based partly on the fruits of its famed youth academy.
The likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, Phil and Gary, came through the ranks to feature alongside marquee signings Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Defending its league title last season, City finished a distant second after failing to sign striker Robin van Persie, who went to Manchester United from Arsenal.
A pair of younger players signed in the summer transfer window, Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell, failed to make an impact.
City couldn’t escape the Champions League group stage for a second straight term, while Pellegrini’s Malaga advanced to the quarterfinals last season for the first time, beaten by eventual finalist Borussia Dortmund.
“We have been greatly impressed throughout the selection process by his philosophy, his attitude, and his commitment to the long-term development of Manchester City,” City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said.
“I am delighted that he has joined us.”
Pellegrini led Villarreal to a second-place finish in La Liga and the Champions League semifinals, while in his one season with Real Madrid, in 2009-2010, it amassed a then club record 96 points without winning any trophies.
Mancini was sometimes criticized for his defensive approach but Pellegrini promised to play attacking football at City.
He said others were interested in his services.
“I had other important offers from important clubs,” he said.
In an effort to make up ground on United, City has already made two major signings in the off-season, acquiring Spanish winger Jesus Navas from Sevilla and Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk for a total believed to be $70 million.
“I’m sure we have the best squad in the Premier League, we have wonderful players and can win more titles in the next three or four seasons,” added Pellegrini. “Manchester City also has incredible fans.
“I think we have (everything at the club) to be successful.”
His hiring completes managerial changes at the top three teams in the Premier League, after David Moyes replaced the retiring Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Mourinho took over from Rafael Benitez at Chelsea.
Mourinho left Real Madrid and Moyes bid adieu to Everton.
Malaga, meanwhile, announced Friday that former Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster would replace Pellegrini at La Rosaleda.