The list of candidates who could potentially replace Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, but crucially improve the Citizens’ fortunes in Europe, just got narrower.
Diego Simeone’s decision to commit himself at the Vincente Calderon until 2020 is sure to bring joy to the ranks of Atletico Madrid fans.
Tying down the mastermind behind a first La Liga title in nine seasons amidst a landscape of Real Madrid/Barcelona domination wasn’t wildly unexpected, though it’s still a huge triumph for Los Rojiblancos.
The powers that be at Man City were thought to have placed Simeone near the top of a provisional list of Pellegrini replacements.
A winner of the Copa del Rey and Europa League so early in his Atletico stint, the Argentine coach’s progression all the way to last season’s Champions League final ensured his quickfire rise to one of the most coveted managers on the planet.
It’s that nous in continental competition that City’s owners and fans alike crave more than ever after three consecutive campaigns at Europe’s top table ended prematurely.
Domestic success didn’t translate for Roberto Mancini either and with Pellegrini now facing a similar scenario as the Italian, the wolves are gathering at the Chilean’s door.
Failure to retain his side’s Premier League title and get beyond the Champions League group stages in the 2012/13 season saw Mancini axed and his replacement’s position now appears critical with Chelsea poised to take their Premier League crown.
In light of Simeone’s decision, City must cast the managerial net elsewhere, but who can compete with that kind of CV in European competition?
The betting at bwin.com suggest the list of serious contenders is only around a half-dozen anyway.
Many of the frontrunners for the Etihad hotseat such as Pep Guardiola at 6/1, already hold enviable posts at other European powerhouses.
Like Simeone, 8/1 chance Jurgen Klopp also has a Champions League near miss on his CV, though the charismatic German has consistently distanced himself from deserting Borussia Dortmund even in darker times this term.
Could Napoli boss Rafael Benitez be the key to unlock the European door for City?
The former Liverpool tactician has obvious European pedigree and is currently leading Napoli into the business end of the Europa League.
Often lambasted for negative tactics though, the 9/1 poke would not be a universally popular choice.