With Manuel Pellegrini seemingly on borrowed time at the Etihad after a 4-2 derby day loss to Manchester United and the Blues in serious need of a major rethink, Manchester City face an uncertain Premier League future.
But the current malaise could yet prove to be the making of the club, with a risky yet potentially perfect replacement for the Chilean waiting in the wings: Patrick Vieira.
An inexperienced manager coming into a squad full of egos and overpaid stars might sound like a recipe for disaster, but that’s not always been the case.
In 2008, Barcelona took a gamble on the exact same thing with Pep Guardiola, and the rest, as they say, is history.
With Vieira set to complete his UEFA Pro Licence this summer, there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between the Frenchman and the current Bayern Munich manager too – here are five of them.
1. Two glittering playing careers
Vieira and Guardiola shared some noticeable similarities as players. Both positioned as central, often defensive-minded, midfielders, the pair were also defined by long stints with one club.
For the Frenchman it was Arsenal, where he played 279 league games, winning three Premier League titles and a further four FA Cups.
For his Catalan counterpart it was Barcelona, where he played 263 games, winning six La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, the European Cup Winners Cup and the Champions League.
Having played with the intensity and determination required to win multiple trophies, it makes sense that Vieira, like Guardiola, would know what is required to win as a manager.
2. Valuable experience in Italy
Like Guardiola, Vieira benefitted from a spell in Italy with Juventus and Inter Milan where he was able to see the game from a different perspective in much the same way as the Spaniard did.
Guardiola spent three years in Italy with Brescia and AS Roma with both players gaining valuable experience working under Fabio Capello.
Responsible for arguably the greatest European Cup final performance ever at AC Milan and a multiple title winner with the Rossoneri and AS Roma, Capello remains a great of the Italian game.
He coached Guardiola in Rome and later Vieira in Turin and it’s this shared experience that further enhances the idea of the Frenchman as very much from the same mould as the Barca icon.
3. Work behind the scenes
If Vieira is to land the top job at Manchester City, he will have done so the hard way having worked tirelessly behind the scenes at the Etihad.
Guardiola was made Barcelona manager after spending a year in charge of the Barcelona B team, where he won the Tercera Division Group and qualified for the Segunda Division B playoffs with the Catalan outfit subsequently gaining promotion.
After retiring, Vieira moved into a training and youth development role at City in 2011, eventually moving up to become manager of the reserve team and Elite Development squad boss in 2013.
The Frenchman has thrived in the role, helping the Blues win all six of their group stage games in this season’s UEFA Youth League, with Roma, Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow put to the sword.
Players like Jason Denayer and Jose Angel Pozo have flourished under Vieira in recent times and he could be the man to blood them into the first-team next term as Guardiola did with B team charges like Pedro and Sergio Busquets.
4. Approaching clubs in crisis
The magnitude of the task at hand at City could not bigger and could hardly more closely resemble that of Barcelona when Guardiola took charge.
At the time, Barca had just endured a miserable league campaign, with a slump in form ultimately seeing the club finish third and some 18 points of champions Real Madrid.
A look at the current Premier League table tells a similar story with City fourth and 12 points off Chelsea with the Pensioners boasting a game in hand.
In Pellegrini, City have a manager with the same 1000-yard stare and morose attitude that Frank Rijkaard adopted during his final few months at the club.
The playing squad, meanwhile, is in dire need of the same kind of overhaul that was required at Barca, who opted to favour homegrown talent over expensive imports.
City could undoubtedly do with adopting a similar approach and that is where Vieira fits in perfectly.
5. Bayern Munich’s seal of approval
With Jupp Heynckes in the twilight of his career, the Bavarians moved heaven and earth to nab Pep Guardiola as their next manager, pursuing the Spaniard for much of the time he spent in New York on sabbatical after leaving Barcelona.
Captivated by the enduring football philosophy he cultivated during his time at the Nou Camp, the Catalan coach was identified as the man to bring long-lasting success to Bayern Munich and the manager to help them compete regularly in Europe.
It’s therefore something of a glowing endorsement to see reports claiming the club are pursuing Vieira with similar gusto.
With Bayern clearly no fools when it comes to identifying coaching talent, City may want to tie the Frenchman down sooner rather than later.