- Premier League
Malaga hope City target Pellegrini stays
Manuel Pellegrini is happy at Malaga, the club's director general Vicente Casado has said, after reports in Spain claimed the coach's agent met Manchester City sporting director Txiki Begiristain in Madrid on Monday.
A detailed story leaked to the AS newspaper said that the lunch between Begiristain and Pellegrini's representative, Jesus Martinez, saw the pair discussing the possibility the Chilean could replace Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium. The pair were also reported to have spoken while attending Malaga's Champions League last-16 first leg at Porto in February.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is also said to be a fan of the ex-Villarreal and Real Madrid coach, who impressed by taking Malaga to the quarter-finals of Europe's top club competition this season.
Pellegrini has had to contend with money issues this season that have seen wage payments delayed, key players sold and the club handed a European ban by UEFA, but the club's most senior Spanish director told AS at a meeting in the newspaper's office on Monday that, as far as he was concerned, the coach was content to continue at La Rosaleda.
"The only thing we know is that Manuel is happy at Malaga," Casado said. "And it is known that everyone appreciates him."
Pellegrini, whose contract at Malaga runs until June 2015, has publicly stated that he would like to stay at the club, but hopes for more certainty and commitment from its owner.
According to AS, former Barcelona director Begiristain was very impressed by Pellegrini's work at Villarreal and had previously recommended him as coach at the Camp Nou.
Casado's claim that Pellegrini would stay was based on his position that Malaga were close to putting their finances in proper order, and that other leading players would not follow Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal out of the club in the next transfer window.
"We will continue to have the budget of a club in mid-table towards the top," he said.
Casado also maintained that Malaga, currently sitting in a Europa League qualification spot in the Primera Division, would have their UEFA European competition ban overturned in June by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"In Malaga we are already credible, in Spain too," he said. "We hope that internationally they believe in this project."