Klopp and Guardiola amongst the candidates
It's that time of year again when Manchester City see their title rankings lying in ruins and their owners start looking for a new boss. Although current manager Manuel Pellegrini says only failing to reach the Champions League will put his job in jeopardy, few football insiders think that to be the case. City started 2015 with a good chance of winning the Premier League and now find themselves 12 points behind Chelsea and having played a game more.
Who could replace Pellegrini during the summer as City try to regain their Premier League title and discover what playing in a Champions League quarter final is like?
The Borussia Dortmund manager has already announced he's leaving the club at the end of this season. After winning the Bundesliga and reaching the Champions League final, Klopp knows how to do well at both domestic level and in the top club competition in the world and those are characteristics that City desperately need.
Success in the Champions League is vital for City and the German could bring them that. Klopp has been learning English, so perhaps he does see his future in the Premier League. He’d also relish the chance to spend, rather than being forced to sell his best players.
Perhaps City don't have to look around the globe for the answer to their problems. Patrick Vieira has been managing the club's elite development squad and is just as experienced as Pep Guardiola was when he stepped up from coaching Barcelona B to the full team. Appointing someone who knows the club and the Premier League like the back of his hand could be a wise move for City.
City have been linked with Guardiola for a fair while, but he ended up at Bayern Munich after leaving Barcelona. He's on the shortlist to manage City again, but is under contract with Bayern until the end of next season. Do City try and persuade him to break that contract and end up paying compensation for their new manager or do they carry on with Pellegrini for another year and hope they can turn their fortunes around in the summer transfer window?
Then again, Bayern Munich are struggling to reach the Champions League semis after a 3-1 away defeat at Porto. Might European failure cause a rift at Munich for Guardiola?
Having managed both Liverpool and Chelsea in the past, Benitez has vital experience of both the Premier League and the Champions League. He's currently managing Napoli in Serie A and his side looks booked for fourth place, missing out on the Champions League. Benitez hasn't exactly been that popular with fans in the past, so would City risk upsetting their supporters by putting him in the charge of the team?
The Liverpool boss hasn't had the easiest of campaigns at Anfield this year and won't be winning a trophy this season, but few deny that he's a manager of the highest quality. There were times that he looked close to being sacked but Liverpool's form in the second half of the season has improved.
They won't be in the Champions League next year barring a great finish and a City collapse (and that really would make the manager's job at Manchester City vacant) and he might fancy a new challenge at City next year. He’s an outsider, though, as fans will surely want a big European name.