London: Roma are prepared to take advantage of Roberto Mancini’s uncertain future at Manchester City by offering a £4.5 million-a-year (Dh25.6 million) contract to bring the Italian back to Serie A this summer.
Mancini, who has rejected ongoing speculation over his future at the Etihad Stadium by claiming, “over the last 15 months, I am the best manager in England,” is less than 12 months into the five-year deal, worth £7.5 million a season, he signed after guiding City to the Premier League title last term.
But with City falling 12 points adrift of league leaders Manchester United after suffering a second successive group stage exit from the Champions League, Mancini’s position is under growing threat. This season’s arrival at the club of chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain has done little to banish doubts over Mancini’s future, with the former Barcelona pair yet to issue any kind of public backing for the former Inter Milan coach.
Mancini, who travelled to Genoa last week to watch Roma against Sampdoria, has emerged as the front-runner for the Roma job, however, following the sacking of Zdenek Zeman earlier this month. Roma’s American owners have placed veteran coach Aurelio Andreazzoli in charge until the end of the season, but president James Pallotta has general manager Franco Baldini with the task of recruiting a high-profile coach this summer to spark a “renaissance” at the Stadio Olimpico.
Having handed Zeman a £1.5 million-a-year contract, Pallotta is ready to treble that salary in order to attract a leading coach and Mancini is the favoured option ahead of Carlo Ancelotti, whose position as Paris St-Germain manager has been undermined by reports linking Jose Mourinho with a move from Real Madrid.
Although Mancini played and managed Roma’s city rivals Lazio, it is understood that Roma are unconcerned by his links to their co-tenants at the Stadio Olimpico and that a move for the City manager will be triggered if it becomes clear that the Premier League champions are to seek a new manager.
City defender Kolo Toure has added to the uncertainty surrounding Mancini by claiming the team must win a trophy this season to safeguard his position. City remain in contention to lift the FA Cup this season following Sunday’s fifth round victory against Leeds United and a draw at home to Barnsley in the quarter-finals and Toure admits the trophy could be crucial for Mancini.
“It is very important for the players to win [a trophy], because that will help the manager to be here for sure,” Toure said. “We don’t want to end a season without winning something.
“I don’t know [if there will be changes]. That’s up to the board and the manager, but as player, we are just here to win. It is hard for City now. We have delivered and we need to maintain that by winning trophies.”