Things appear as though they’ll get worse before they get better at Manchester City.
Their 4-2 drubbing at the hands of mortal enemy Manchester United last weekend was their sixth loss in eight outings, a run of form that’s seen them drift from title contenders to a position on the periphery of the top-four.
Should Liverpool beat Newcastle in their game in hand, a feat which is priced up at a microscopically short 9/25, the Reds will be just four points adrift of the fourth-placed Citizens heading into the final six matches of the season.
It’s widely believed that Manuel Pellegrini will lose his job as a direct consequence of their dramatic decline in stature, though, despite the wealth of resources they possess, finding an heir to his throne will be tough.
Sustaining success has been an issue not just for the current Man City boss, but predecessor Roberto Mancini too.
Both, however, did deliver multiple domestic trophies during their relatively short stays, before going out (or, probably going out, in the Chilean’s case) with an emphatic implosion.
The pair fulfilled specific criteria before landing the coveted position at the Etihad and it’s fair to assume the next in line will need to meet the same requirements.
Winning perceivably easier leagues is something each has on their CV, with Mancini landing three Serie A crowns with Inter, while Pellegrini steered San Lorenzo and River Plate to glory in Argentina, as well as winning the Ecuadorian equivalent with Liga de Quito.
An ability to deliver success instantly is also imperative.
Mancini won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Nerazzurri helm, while the South American domestic conquests of the man who replaced him also came during his maiden campaigns in charge.
Not many managers can tick these essential boxes and will be potentially available this summer, but there is one.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc is the man in question.
Having landed a domestic double in his second season at the Bordeaux helm, the former Man Utd centre-back pocketed two trophies in his first term at the Parc des Princes.
With Les Rouges et Bleus currently topping the Ligue 1 table with seven matches to play, a second successive title could well be the offing, a feat neither of Mancini and Pellegrini have been able to achieve.
Another advantage the Frenchman has over the pair he would be following is that he’s accustomed to working with billionaire owners and having access to bottomless transfer budgets.
He has also gone further in the Champions League than any previous boss manning the City rudder.
PSG’s aspirations to appoint one of the planet’s super coaches may well prompt them to relinquish their current helmsman, especially with Pep Guardiola available at the end of next season.
So even though the prospect of missing out on a Champions League place, the sacking of a double-winning manager and a protracted quest to replace him looms for City this summer, bringing Blanc in may well spark the elusive, long-term golden period they’ve been striving for.
He’s 20/1 to be the club’s next manager.