Third ex-Barcelona chief targeted by Manchester City in boardroom shake-up

The former Camp Nou marketing boss Esteve Calzada could link up with ex-colleagues Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain as part of a backroom revolution at the Etihad Stadium
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

A third former Barcelona high-flier is in line to join the shock Manchester City executive revolution, has learned.

Esteve Calzada, the ex-Barca marketing director, is being considered to work alongside former colleagues Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain in a ground-breaking shake-up of the City high command. exclusively revealed on Tuesday that the Premier League leaders are on the verge of appointing Soriano, the former Barcelona vice-president, as chief executive with Begiristain, the former Nou Camp dealmaker, working under him as director of football.

Calzada was also a key figure at Barcelona during Joan Laporta’s tenure as president of the Spanish club, spending five years as head of the marketing, commercial and media department between 2002 and 2007.

There is a suggestion that Calzada has been working on a consultancy basis for City during the past few months under acting chief executive John Macbeath.

However, the club have refused to comment on his possible involvement or the near five-month hunt to find a successor to former chief executive Garry Cook, which is expected to be concluded in the next few weeks. understands that Soriano, who was on the Camp Nou board between 2003 and 2008 as the club grew rapidly to become the second-highest-earning in the world, is the City hierarchy’s chosen candidate to become the new CEO.

The 44-year-old chairman of Spanish airline Spanair wants Begiristain, 47, the former Barcelona technical secretary who was in charge of the European champions’ recruitment policy between 2003 and 2010, and Calzada to work alongside him.

Speaking on Catalan radio station RAC on Tuesday night, Soriano admitted that he had received offers from prominent football clubs to leave Spanair, although he refused to be drawn on the City link.

“I have received other proposals for other things, like football and from England,” said Soriano. “But I can tell you that, until I finish what I started here, I do not think about leaving.

“I will not tell you who made me these offers, but the answer always has been the same: ‘Not now’.”

However, Soriano conceded that there could be a “rethink” and said that the highly regarded Begiristain “will surely receive proposals”.

Cook resigned his £1.96 million-per-year role last September after conceding he made an "error of judgement" in mistakenly sending an offensive email to the mother of Nedum Onuoha, the City defender, which prompted an internal investigation led by the club’s chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak.