By Paul Clennam
Manuel Pellegrini will fly into Manchester on Sunday ahead of signing a contract to take over as City's new manager early next week, Goal can reveal.
The Chilean has left Malaga after being identified as City's No.1 candidate to replace Roberto Mancini, who was sacked after the FA Cup final defeat to Wigan.
Pellegrini had kept his counsel as speculation linking him with the Etihad Stadium post grew, but broke ranks in recent weeks to first confirm that he would be leaving the Liga club at the end of the season, before affirming a deal was in place to have talks with the Premier League runners-up.
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He will arrive in the north-west this weekend before taking in the club's Carrington training base and meeting key staff on Monday, when he is expected to finally put pen to paper on a deal that will make him the third permament manager to serve under Sheikh Mansour since he became owner in 2008.
Mancini's fourth season in charge was dogged by speculation linking other managers with his post, but the Pellegrini rumours gathered pace on the eve of the FA Cup clash with Wigan and the Italian's departure was confirmed two days after the 1-0 loss at Wembley.
Pellegrini, 50, guided Malaga to the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season despite a summer clear-out and crippling financial irregularities. He went one stage further with Villarreal in 2005-06, and racked up 96 points as Real Madrid boss in 2009-10 only to be beaten to the Liga title by Barcelona and swiftly sacked.
With a new manager all but confirmed, City have already been preparing for next season, having announced the €40 million signature of Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk, while Jesus Navas will be confirmed in the coming days.
The duo represent a third of City's €140m summer shopping list, with a move for Napoli striker Edinson Cavani having stalled over a discrepancy in makeweight Edin Dzeko's value, though the club are still confident of thrashing out a deal.
Isco has indicated that he will join Pellegrini at Eastlands, as revealed by Goal in May, while Thiago Alcantara, who is in action alongside Isco for Spain at the European Under-21 Championship in Israel, and Diego Novaretti complete the list of targets.