Sunday, May 26, 2013


He's behind you
According to the Portuguese press, Manuel Pellegrini, outgoing manager of Malaga and hotly tipped to become Roberto Mancini's successor at the Etihad, also features at the top of FC Porto's wanted list, if, as seems likely, they dispense with coach Vitor Pereira's services in the next few days.

According to Sunday's A Bola newspaper, Pellegrini is already in possession of a proposal from Porto's S.A.D., the business arm of the club, to become the next manager of the northern giants and Portuguese league champions of 2012-2013. The news will send a shiver down the spine of those in Manchester fully expecting City to be the next port of call for the experienced Chilean. According to A Bola, the fact that City are also "in the race" for Pellegrini does not necessarily put Porto at a disadvantage and the paper claims that the Chilean finds the Porto proposal "highly attractive", although exactly who it is that appears to have uttered those words is unclear.

Pereira's departure from Porto appears to have been decided well before he managed to haul in the title against the odds with a last day win for his Porto side away at Paços de Ferreira. Although Porto went through the entire season unbeaten in the league, they failed in the Champions League, ironically being dismissed from the competition by Pellegrini's sprightly Malaga side at the quarter final stage. It was perhaps these two games that brought Pellegrini to the closest attention of Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, a man notorious for having it all his own way in Portuguese football. Despite their late success in the league, Pereira has neither the unanimous support of the Porto supporters nor the club's board members.With Pinto da Costa the owner of a deliciously suspect trigger finger, it is on the cards that Porto will indeed shortly be without a manager. The offer that has already been tabled to Pellegrini's agent is thought to be well short in financial terms of what City have offered, but Porto's recent sale of João Moutinho and James Rodriguez means they are €70 million up on this time last week, a fact that might allow them to bid higher if it came to such a fight.

It has to be said that a good 40-50% of the stories that feature in the Portuguese sports dailies at this stage of the season have to be taken with a decent pinch of salt, but the piece today, tucked away on Page 27 of A Bola on the pages dedicated to FC Porto, occupies a full page and goes into unusually deep detail. It is clear that Porto are and will be interested in Pellegrini. What is not so certain for them, is how interested he would be in them.

The link to the Porto/Pellegrini story

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