Following a devastating 3-1 loss to Southampton which has left Manchester City closer to fifth place than first, the time has come for Roberto Mancini to be shown the door. Whether that happens now or at the end of the season would seem to be the only question. For a club with the ambition and resources of City to have their season effectively end in February is, well, a sackable offense. FA Cup aside, City is now playing for a top four finish.
The knee-jerk reaction is to say get Mancini out now and allow a new manager to work with the team for the next few months to get an idea of what changes he wants to make in the summer. Of course this requires the next manager to be available, something that may not be possible until the summer. Mano Menezes is available after his sacking from the Brazil national team. He has a reputation for attacking football, but Brazilian mangers have a poor track record in Europe, and whether appointing a coach with no European experience would be a smart move would be questionable. Marcelo Biesla would be another possible candidate, and someone I would like to see in the Premier League. With Athletic Bilbao self-imploding after a stunning 2011/12 season, both the club and Biesla might be open to a change before the summer. Bielsa has proved with both Chile and Bilbao he is very capable of managing at the top level with top players and a move to the Premier League seems a natural fit.
Jurgen Klopp would be another potential candidate, but with a young talented squad at Dortmund and the continuing rise of German club football the time may not be right for him to move. With Mourinho looking increasingly likely to return to Chelsea, and Gaurdiola already agreeing to Bayern Munich, there is quickly becoming a shortage of top quality managers available.
The time has come for Mancini and City to part company, the question is whether it should be now or in the summer. The answer will likely depend on when his replacement is available.