City target Pellegrini set to leave Malaga

MANCHESTER City’s top target to take their vacant managerial role, Manuel Pellegrini, moved a step closer to the Etihad Stadium yesterday after announcing his tenure at Spanish club Malaga will end this summer.

Following the sacking of Roberto Mancini earlier this month, Pellegrini has emerged as the overwhelming favourite to take the hot seat at the Premier League runners-up.

The 59-year-old had previously denied having any contact with the Manchester City hierarchy, but yesterday’s announcement seemingly paves the way for the former Real Madrid boss to begin negotiations.

“My coaching staff and I are separating from Málaga but our union with this city will be eternal,” said Pellegrini. “I am not leaving because of financial ambition, but because of a sporting project that will allow me to feel fulfilled.”

City are currently embarking on a post-season tour in America, where they will model their new Nike kit in a friendly with Chelsea tonight in St Louis. Their switch from Manchester-based manufacturer Umbro is worth £72m over six years, a deal City will hope can widen their global appeal.

This latest commercial move follows City’s creation of the newest Major League Soccer franchise, New York City FC, in partnership with baseball giants New York Yankees.

The new club, set to commence playing in 2015, have appointed former Manchester City midfielder Claudio Reyna, 39, as director of football operations.

Reyna said: “I’m incredibly excited to again wear City’s ‘Sky Blue’ as part of the expansion of the MLS and the growth of soccer in the US.”

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Premier League’s top kit deals (per season)
Arsenal: £30m – Puma
Liverpool: £25m – Warrior
Chelsea: £20m – Adidas
Manchester United: £19.1m – Nike
Manchester City: £12m – Nike
Spurs: £10m – Under Armour

Europe’s top kit deals (per season)
Real Madrid: £31m – Adidas
Barcelona: £27m – Nike
Bayern Munich: £16m – Adidas
Inter Milan: £15m – Nike