Manchester City step up pursuit of former Barcelona deal-maker Begiristain

The Premier League champions are closing in on the appointment of a second former Camp Nou high-flyer as new CEO Ferran Soriano re-models club's executive team
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Manchester City are closing in on the appointment of former Barcelona deal-maker Txiki Begiristain. revealed in January that City’s Abu Dhabi owners wanted to re-model the club’s high command by installing a Barcelona executive dream team.

Former Barca vice-president Ferran Soriano was named as the Premier League champions’ new chief executive in mid-August following a lengthy pursuit.

It is understood that Soriano, who started work at Etihad Stadium at the beginning of September, is strongly pushing for Begiristain to take on a technical director role and contact has been made with the 48-year-old.

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The position would involve Begiristain, who spent seven years at Barcelona before leaving in 2010 when his ally Joan Laporta was replaced as the club’s president, working alongside Soriano and taking charge of the club’s recruitment policy.

At Camp Nou, where he was the technical secretary, Begiristain oversaw a talent drive that brought the likes of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Dani Alves to the club.

It would be regarded as a huge statement by City if Abu Dhabi give the green light to hiring a second former Barcelona high-flyer as a leading Premier League club has never before been run by executives with impeccable European credentials.  

Together, Soriano and Begiristain were credited with much of the off-field development of Barcelona into European football’s dominant force.

Another key figure in the Catalan club's growth was Esteve Calzada, the ex-Barca marketing director. He remains in the sights of City, as first revealed by in January, and could be appointed alongside Begiristain.

City’s owners have authorised the most radical ever shake-up of how a leading Premier League outfit is run as they seek to emulate the three-time European champions’ model of success.

However, the arrival of Begiristain could have repercussions for Brian Marwood, who is currently the most senior football administrator at the club and effectively has a director of football role; overseeing the recruitment, academy, medical and sports science departments.

Marwood was a close ally of former City chief executive Garry Cook and has been a key figure in one of the most lavish recruitment drives in football history over the last four years.

When contacted by, City declined to comment.

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