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Even before Mancini’s departure, it was destined to a busy offseason for player moves at City _ despite the Financial Fair Play restrictions imposed by the Union of European Football Associations.

City’s poor recruitment in the last summer laid the seeds for the eventual demise of the former Inter Milan coach.

The club failed to sign its top target, with Robin van Persie opting to join United from Arsenal, and City added low-profile recruits in Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Matija Nastasic for about 35 million pounds (now $53 million) in total.

The 48-year-old Mancini let the board know about his unhappiness over the club’s dealings, regularly complaining to reporters.

Rodwell and Sinclair have hardly figured this season, and the promising Nastasic has been in and out of the team.

Many of Mancini’s big-name players _ Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and captain Vincent Kompany _ have either failed to shine or were unavailable for crucial periods, affecting City’s ability to compete on multiple fronts. His longtime indulgence of Mario Balotelli before the Italian forward joined AC Milan in January raised questions over his managerial approach.

Losses this season to Southampton and Everton count among the worst results in Mancini’s reign and were symptomatic of the team’s regression.

City’s move to appoint former Barcelona officials Txiki Begiristain (director of football) and Ferran Soriano (chief executive) also left Mancini’s role under a cloud and hinted at a new direction.

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola seemed to be the perfect fit to eventually replace Mancini, but he decided in January to join Bayern Munich on a three-year deal starting next season.

Soriano and Begiristain know Pellegrini well from their time in Spain and probably will be the biggest supporters behind the Chilean’s likely appointment.

Mancini also has fallen out with a number of players this year, including Kompany over his decision to play for Belgium soon after returning from a spell out injured, and Samir Nasri for his poor work rate and performances.

“The team looks without passion, desire and (it’s) difficult to find an answer why everything went wrong,” defender Pablo Zabaleta said after the FA Cup final loss.

It will be up to the new manager to restore unity and desire to the club.


AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Manchester, England, contributed to this report.