Serie A giants Napoli must make a move for Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini if Rafael Benitez leaves the Stadio San Paulo this summer.
The Spaniard is set to leave in the summer with his contract due to expire, with speculation rife he may replace Laurent Blanc at Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season.
And with Pellegrini’s second season in the Premier League failing to hit the same successful heights as his first, the Chilean would be an ideal replacement and could be a decision that leads to domestic and European success in the future.
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Benitez’s position at the club has grown increasingly uncertain over the past few months, with numerous clubs monitoring ongoings if he opts for a new challenge elsewhere.
He was at one point strongly linked with a return to former club Liverpool, but Brendan Rodgers’ men have now recaptured their form and still stand a strong chance of securing Champions League football at Anfield for a second consecutive season.
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Newcastle United are another club mooted with making a possible approach, but Mike Ashley’s determination to hold all the cards could ultimately scupper their chances of making Benitez a true successor to Alan Pardew.
A contract extension is still not impossible, particularly if he manages to propel them further up the league table and towards Coppa Italia and Europa League success, but if he walks away then the club hierarchy must ensure they make the right decision.
Despite guiding City to the Premier League title in his first season at the helm, Pellegrini could face the same fate as his predecessor Roberto Mancini in being sacked if the champions fail to retain their crown.
Mancini, who is currently in charge at Inter Milan, won City the league in 2012 but was axed after Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United won it back the following year with the goals of Robin Van Persie particularly to the fore.
Pellegrini has struggled in the transfer market but has continued to bring attacking, exciting football to the Etihad Stadium, and that he has coaxed the best from the likes of Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero make him an appealing proposition.
It begs the question how he could further develop and improve Gonzalo Higuain, Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik amongst others, and may use past pain at both City and former club Real Madrid to spur him on to Serie A success.
His CV speaks for itself and, if appointed, could be the decision that finally ends Juventus’ dominance of Italian football.