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Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills believes Manuel Pellegrini is being "undermined" by speculation he will make way for Pep Guardiola.
It was revealed on Sunday that the Spaniard would be departing Bayern Munich this summer after three years with the German giants, and a number of English clubs are expected to covet the services of the former Barcelona boss when he leaves.
City are thought to be at the front of the queue when it comes to landing Guardiola because director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano are at the Etihad Stadium, having previously held posts in Catalonia.
Pellegrini only signed a new deal with the club in August, but that contract expires in the summer of 2017 and the fact Guardiola is available next summer has only heightened the belief the current incumbent is on borrowed time.
City were beaten 2-1 at Arsenal on Monday and trail leaders Leicester by six points at Christmas.
Mills, who spent five years with City during the previous decade, insists the link to Guardiola is making Pellegrini's job more difficult and has called on his old employers to clarify where the 62-year-old stands.
"The Pep situation is an interesting one," he told talkSPORT.
"I almost think the club has to come out and make some sort of statement or at least tell Pellegrini the situation.
"Speculation was rife at the start of the season and Pellegrini has always been under pressure, and now we know that Pep is definitely available.
"The rumours are that, with the ex-Barcelona guys at Manchester City, that he will be coming in at the end of the season, but they are only rumours at the moment.
"Manuel Pellegrini must feel a little undermined.
"The players will be thinking that the manager might not be with them for much longer, and sometimes that can just drop five per cent off your performance.
"That's not what City need at the moment."
Speaking before it was confirmed Guardiola would leave Bayern, Pellegrini last week said that there was no extra pressure on him amid the suggestion he was merely keeping the seat warm until the end of the campaign.
"I think Pep is one of the best coaches in the world so if he doesn't continue at Bayern maybe a lot of teams can try to have him manage their team," the Chilean said.
"In my case, I don't have any pressure about that. Maybe there are a lot of rumours - not only this season but going back to the other seasons - but the only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself to win.
"When you have experience and manage so many big clubs, you know with every result that is not the result the club wants the media will start with different rumours about different things, but if you are worried about that it's impossible to work in a big team."