But then English football does have an inflated sense of its own importance. None more so than the over-hyped, effectively Sky Sports owned, Premier League.
Manuel Pellegrini has nothing to prove. At least not to me. I have watched his career in Spain these past eight years and admired his manner, tactical nous and the way he likes his teams to play football.
He has earned the right to manage a club where he can purchase whatever sweets he wants. Though, be warned Man City fans, your new manager is not a shopaholic. He’s more of a pic ‘n mix man.
They still miss Manuel Pelligrini at Villareal, where he performed wonders. Many Real Madrid fans will tell you the club showing him the door all too soon was a big mistake. And it was.
And, ninety minutes down the road from me, Malaga supporters will always have a place in their hearts for Pellegrini. He would have stayed had not those running Malaga turned the club into a financial basket case.
Now he picks up the hot potato that is Manchester City. Run by owners who claim they want to “develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club.”
The Oxford English dictionary defines holistic as being: “characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.”
Fine intentions. Wise words. But will Pellegrini be given the time to build “the whole”, or will he simply be given one season to win something?Manchester City have picked the right man. The manager former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina once told his bosses to employ at Anfield.
Pellegrini will not be phased by the attention he will receive from the English press. Of course, many of the hacks are narrow minded and think that football outside of the Premier League, and away from little Britain, is of little consequence.
They want soundbites. Easy copy. The last thing they want is, to quote one tabloid journalist, “a Chilean version of Howard Wilkinson.”
Ignorance is bliss!
Pellegrini was respected by the Spanish sports press. He is a dignified man and, put simply, a bloody good coach and manager. Not winning La Liga still niggles with him. As does the appalling way he was treated by those who run Real Madrid.
He himself says: “I won titles in every country I had worked in before I came to Europe. But it is true that I have not won anything here and I have a regret that I never won a title in Spain, especially with Real Madrid.
“Finishing as runners-up in La Liga with Villarreal was not easy, and neither was taking that team to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
“Success isn’t all about how much money you spend. Look at Real Madrid. They make enormous investments every year, but they lack a clear management structure.”
Pellegrini is a risk taker. He has signed a striker who has performed well within Spain, but has yet to show his true worth when playing for the all conquering national side of Spain.Alvaro Negredo is a better player than the one who has made sporadic appearances in European Championships and World Cups. The footballing world at large has yet to see how good a player he can be. I have done so, in the flesh.
I think signing Negredo is quite a gamble. One that could backfire. But Pellegrini has confidence in the player performing at his best in a foreign league. And the admiration is mutual.
Negredo says of his new boss: “Every club he has left has been very happy with what he achieved. At Villarreal he had some amazing seasons, at Real Madrid his one season was a very good one, and at Malaga, despite having very little money and a lot of problems, they played very good football.
“The way the fans at those clubs all loved him shows what he is like. He plays attacking, risk-taking football with a lot of possession of the ball. All fans like that kind of football, so I am sure City fans will take to his team.”
Negredo is the most high profile signing at the Etihad Stadium. But the new manager is happy with the squad at his disposal.
Pellegrini says: “We bought four important players, we already had a very good team and with these four players I think we improved a lot. We hope that from the first match against Newcastle at home we will start winning, and we will try to bring another trophy here.
“My career has been all about sporting challenges. I will stay true to the values I have built up over many years. I have always tried to get my teams to play with a certain style.
“But this time I know that the style I employ also comes with a need to deliver titles.”
Top class football today is littered with managers taking high profile jobs with one eye on the massive compensation they will receive should they be sacked.
Manuel Pellegrini is old school. He has taken the job at Manchester City because he wants to test himself and prove to himself, not others, that he can win a major league title.
If they give him the full three years of his contract, I expect him to do just that.