Saturday 20 January 2018

Rafa Benitez denies link to Manchester City

But pressure mounts on Pellegrini as Vieira joins Benitez on list of Etihad candidates

Former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez
Former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez

RAFA Benitez and Patrick Vieira are the latest candidates to replace the increasingly vulnerable Manchester City boss Manuel Pelegrini who is now odds-on to lose his job this summer.

Speculation about Benitez's future at Napoli increased over the weekend and forced Benitez to issue a denial that he is talking with Manchester City's owners.

"I have not had contacts with City, unlike what I've read in England. I have spoken to the President via text messages but we have not been able to meet due to our busy playing schedule in order to evaluate the business plan. Now our focus is on matters on the pitch," he said last night.

Sources close to the City squad, meanwhile, have revealed that the players' choice to replace Pellegrini would be the current reserve team boss Patrick Vieira.

And if Pellegrini's troubles weren't enough, Yaya Toure's agent threw another gallon of fuel on the fire, meaning the Chilean's efforts to maintain dressing room stability for the Premier League run-in seem doomed.

Revealing that he has already received offers for Toure, agent Dimitri Seluk wants to speak to Pellegrini's employers.

"We have had different offers for Yaya but we must speak to Manchester City. People think he will stay because of money but we don't care about money. If Man City don't want him - no problem," said Seluk.

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