Manchester City have confirmed that Manuel Pellegrini will be replaced by Pep Guardiola as manager at the end of the season.
The club’s surprise statement ends considerable speculation linking them with outgoing Bayern Munich boss Guardiola and over Pellegrini’s future.
Guardiola will take over from the start of the 2016-17 season having agreed a three-year contract with the club.
City released the following statement after Pellegrini’s press conference on Monday:
“Manchester City can confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalised contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC head coach for the 2016/17 EPL season onwards.
“The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012.
“Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation.
“Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club.”
The news was announced at the end of a standard press conference to preview Tuesday’s Barclays Premier League game at Sunderland.
First Pellegrini, who signed a one-year extension to his original three-year contract last summer, announced his departure and that was quickly followed by the club statement.
Pellegrini said: “Before we finish I will tell you that I talked with the club and I will finish my contract on the original date in June. We extended the contract one year more but with the clause that one of the club or me may not use that extended contract. So, I will finish here on the original date, June 30.
“There has been a lot of speculation about things, but they (the club) are not doing anything behind me. I knew this one month ago. I don’t think it is good to have speculation about different things. I prefer to finish (by announcing) today – that is why I have told the press and told the players. I told the club two weeks ago that I would do it.”