Russian giants Zenit could turn to Mancini if they lose patience with Spalletti

Roberto Mancini could be a summer target for Zenit St Petersburg.

Luciano Spalletti has been in charge of the Russian club since December 2009, and has since led them to two Premier League titles, one Russian Cup and one Russian Super Cup. This term, though, they currently lie in third position, eight points behind CSKA Moscow, whilst, crucially, they were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage.

Zenit overcame Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, yet a shock 2-0 defeat in the last 16 away to Basle leaves them in danger of elimination before the quarter-final stage. And although the Russian Cup remains on the agenda with a last-eight clash with Kuban Krasnodar set for next month, this may not be enough to save the Italian coach.

Spalletti spent heavily during the summer, most notably on Hulk and Belgian ace Axel Witsel. The latter cost a fee of £32million, yet he has only featured in half of the league fixtures since his arrival.  But it is the form of the Brazilian international which caused most concern; he too has played 10 ten times in the Premier League, and his return of just two goals has left a lot to be desired from a player who cost a staggering £39.5million.

According to Darren Lewis of The Mirror, Zenit are already looking for a new coach ahead of next season, but have clearly not been put off by Italians as they set their sights on Roberto Mancini who, like his compatriot, has come under pressure this season.

Despite leading Manchester City to their first piece of silverware in 35 years when they won the FA Cup in 2011, and following this up with a first league title since 1968 the following season, the former Internazionale coach has failed to lead them past the group stage of the Champions League in each of the past two campaigns. And with his side currently trailing rivals United by 12 points in the Premier League, his future has been of some speculation.

Mancini signed a new five-year contract just last year, and although he remains hugely popular with the Blues fans, it has been suggested that even winning the FA Cup may not be enough to save his job at the Etihad Stadium. He could, however, be offered a lucrative move to Russia, if Zenit decide Spalletti has taken them as far as he possibly can.


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