Manchester United are still looking for a permanent manager – and the latest report has thrown up an unlikely rumour.
Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is apparently in the frame to take over when interim manager Ralf Rangnick – who won't take charge of his first game until Sunday – steps aside in the summer.
According to James Ducker at The Telegraph, Italy boss Mancini is a "wild card" candidate for the role being considered at Manchester United.
Mancini's previous four-year stint in Manchester saw him guide City to their first title in 44 years, when they pipped United to the Premier League by one point on a dramatic final day in 2011/12. He has also won the Serie A three times with Inter Milan, as well as winning Euro 2020 as Italy coach this summer.
While his name in the hat will raise eyebrows (FourFourTwo's are certainly waggling uncontrollably) due to his City past, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has also been linked with the job – suggesting the Manchester United hierarchy are relaxed about candidates' pasts.
Could it happen? There are plenty of reasons to be sceptical.
Timing is a key one: as manager of the Italy national team, Mancini will be targeting next year's World Cup. With the World Cup taking place in winter for the first time, a move in the summer would mean leaving before the tournament.
If he were to make that decision ahead of spring's crucial qualifiers, the Italian FA may even prefer to instal a new manager ahead of March's fixtures, giving the new name time to bed in that. That would leave Mancini needlessly unemployed until the summer.
The City links would also surely be a sticking point: no one has managed both Manchester sides since James Ernest Mangnall became City boss in 1912.
Still, with Rangnick in place at Old Trafford until the end of the season, United have time cast their net wide before making the decision. And the longer it goes on, the more, ahem, blue sky thinking we may see.
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Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.
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