Although we are barely two-thirds of the way through the season and Manchester City are still chasing four trophies, time has already been called on Manuel Pellegrini?s run in charge. City took the unusual step of announcing the appointment of Pep Guardiola as their next manager with the current Bayern Munich boss to take charge in the summer.
The appointment of Guardiola was not a complete surprise but the timing of the announcement seemed to take everyone off guard. All eyes were on the closing hours of the January transfer window but Manchester City stole the headlines with their audacious swoop for Guardiola.
They have been pursuing the former Barcelona boss since 2012 but were initially thwarted by his move to Bayern Munich. It has been clear for some time that Guardiola was keen to leave Germany and a move to the new challenge of the Premier League was widely anticipated.
Manuel Pellegrini was installed at the Etihad but City have kept tabs on Guardiola. City lost the title to Chelsea last season and suffered a blow in this year?s challenge when beaten 3-1 at home by table-topping Leicester on Saturday. City have not been shy in the transfer market in recent years but there is already speculation that Guardiola has been granted the same sort of freedom handed to Louis Van Gaal at rivals United.
There has already been talk of some significant summer signings as Guardiola looks to build on the established framework at the club. He has already spoken of his desire to divide his attentions between his current job at Bayern and his future at City. Supporters are already accustomed to being in the title race and the club are now genuine challengers in the Champions League.
Only Jose Mourinho has rivaled Guardiola in recent seasons in terms of popularity. The appointment of the Spaniard at City has heightened expectation that United may appoint Mourinho this summer. His reputation remains largely intact despite his demise at Chelsea this season and Van Gaal appears to be on borrowed time at Old Trafford.
Manchester City will regard the appointment of Guardiola as a major coup and a giant step towards their goal of having a commanding presence, both domestically and in Europe. They are intent of achieving the same global branding that is now so important to United.