From dealing with the deadwood to schmoozing the boardroom, there are five things City's new manager must get right
The ability to be politically savvy will be a defining factor in the new manager's longevity at City. If Roberto Mancini's successor is Manuel Pellegrini, then he is obviously Txiki Begiristain's and Ferran Soriano's man, so this is a good start. The Chilean, though, needs to be careful to keep this Spanish director of football-chief executive axis onside, as the ruthless culling of his predecessor offers a stark statement of their power. The incoming coach also needs to establish from them precisely how much say he has in the fundamental areas of the team and club's management – transfers, style of play, training regime, and the recruitment of coaching staff – and ensure he manages these smartly.
There is a pressing requirement to start work as soon as possible, much as David Moyes will do at Manchester United once Everton's Premier League term ends on Sunday. A prime reason is that this will be a summer of hectic wheeling and dealing from the Etihad Stadium offices, as up to 12 players are either leaving – Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge, Joleon Lescott, Kolo Touré – or have uncertain futures, Carlos Tévez, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko, Gareth Barry, Scott Sinclair, Maicon, John Guidetti and Costel Pantilimon. As players depart, new ones will undoubtedly arrive and with City serious about Uefa's Financial Fair Play strictures, the manager should be forensic in his recruitment planning.
An opening-day defeat is unwanted but no big deal. But if, say, four games pass without a win then not only is valuable ground ceded in the table, knives in certain quarters will already be sharpening for the new manager. If that person is Pellegrini, the citing of the 2004 Intertoto Cup win as his sole managerial trophy in European football will become currency for his and the club's critics. In the Champions League, better performances should be easy to achieve after City's first two forays into the elite club competition ended with failure to emerge from the group stage. However tough the other teams in last season's phase – Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, and Real Madrid – are viewed, finishing bottom was the moment Mancini's job became precarious: a club with a £1bn-plus investment expects better.
What is success and failure for the new coach? City, in the hands of the assistant Brian Kidd, secured second place with a win at Reading on Tuesday night, so with Khaldoon al-Mubarak, the chairman, demanding year-on-year improvement will the same finish be deemed enough, especially if City's European campaign again disappoints and not a single trophy is won? If the answer is no, does the new man get the bullet after just a season? A clue to the time he is allowed will come in the length of contract awarded.
It is easy to scoff at a term that, with its echoes of a Silicon Valley start-up manifesto, sounds like new-age management speak. Yet an ethos that states all parts of a club should be recognised as connected and inter-dependent seems like common sense. The problem is that City's model of having a permanent director of football comes with the subconscious expectation that the coach is a transitory figure who may not survive beyond a season or two, just as at Chelsea or Real Madrid, one of Pellegrini's former clubs. To put it another way: how holistic can a manager be if others are the real drivers of a club? Finding out promises to be just one of the fascinating narratives of the Sheikh Mansour project as it embarks on the next phase.