Rafa Benitez set to take over at City
Vieira will be in charge for now if Pellegrini is sacked
MANCHESTER City have earmarked former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez as the man to lead them next season as they prepare to ditch Manuel Pellegrini.
Reports from Manchester today suggested that City could even act quickly and dismiss Pellegrini if they fail to beat West Ham next weekend, with current academy chief Patrick Viera on standby to take over as caretaker for the rest of the season.
Benitez failed to win a Premier League title during his spells in England but the 54-year-old is seen as managerial hot property again after success in Italy with Napoli, whom he has guided into the top four in Serie A as well a place in the last eight of the Europa League.
Pellegrini does not expect to be in charge of City next season after a poor defence of their Premier League title and a limp showing in the Champions League, but he had hoped to see out the current campaign and he is aware that a win at home to West Ham would give him more time. Former Barca boss Pepe Guardiola could be a long-term successor when his contract with Bayern Munich ends in 2016.