Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is reportedly getting a pay rise this season and it means he will be getting paid more than his rival across town at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Mirror are reporting that a deal between the Italian and he Etihad Stadium owners has been agreed in principle following talks in Abu Dhabi.
Mancini’s new contract is said to be a reward for taking the Citizens to the Premier League title last season, nipping ahead of Manchester United in the dying seconds of the final day fixtures.
City’s triumph is down to the significant investment their new owners have made since purchasing the club in 2008, investment that looks certain to continue.
It is difficult to consider the news of Mancini’s deal and not ponder as to whether this points towards a shift in the value of the two managers.
If United’s closest rivals are willing to pay more for their man in the dugout, does that mean Mancini has now become worth more than Ferguson?
At first glance it is hard to fathom, what with the list of honours Ferguson has on his CV dwarfing that of Mancini’s, but the Italian can do nothing about what has gone before.
City’s win seemed like the inevitable culmination of their purchasing and any realist looking ahead will envisage more of the same.
The notion that they could return to anything like their former state, and not be placed firmly among the Premier League’s elite, is absurd – this is the key between the value of the two men.
A sporting field is not a place that acknowledges past glories, it is a place that decides the superiors of now, which is why Mancini’s stock is rising quickly and Ferguson’s reputation is as it always was.
Mancini has proved he can unite a squad of superstar egos and stratospheric salaries to a degree that bred consistent brilliance; the league table does not lie.
There is an argument that Ferguson has pulled off the greater feat by taking a far inferior squad and consistently dragging winning performances out of them, so much so they were in touching distance of retaining their crown.
However, this season will be remembered as the one that saw City win their first title for 44 years.
Looking forward, Mancini appears to have the superior position of the two men – a league title, another season in the Champions League, a stellar squad that is gelling ever more and the prospect of further high-profile additions.
Meanwhile, at Old Trafford, Ferguson has had to rely on his older stars to continue to roll back the years, deal with the blow of losing the title so dramatically and, most importantly, the reduction in funds being made available for transfers, never mind even trying to match their rivals.
Age is another factor; Mancini is relatively young and with a number of years ahead of him in the game, while predictions of Ferguson’s retirement will be made every year now.
We have a man who is on his way up in the managerial world and another who is coming to the end of his time – in investment terms, it is a straightforward decision over who has the greater value.
Nothing can take Ferguson’s decorated history away from him and, in terms of professional reputation, he is at a level that Mancini can only dream of.
That was then, though, and now appears to belong the former Inter Milan boss, while the comparable ‘greatness’ of the pair can only be left to posterity.
Mancini’s new contract does not make him the highest paid manager in the Premier League, however, that is Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, which could surprise a few.
The Frenchman’s contract brings about an interesting debate over how different clubs ‘value’ their managers and whether they should be the highest paid individuals at any club – an interesting debate, but one for another time.
Putting aside the comparisons, Manchester City have given another example of their willingness to spend freely and Mancini’s improved terms are a small part of their intentions.
The wider picture suggests a shifting in the balance of power and a shift that is driven by unprecedented spending.
Mancini has become the suave face of a revolution that is likely to change the Premier League landscape for some time.
Whether that will be for good or bad remains to be seen, but City have now successfully erased a culture of failure at the club that had resided there for decades and Mancini’s reward is the means to begin emulating the man he has just surpassed in value.
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