Last updated : 14 June 2007 By Editor

The Telegraph:

Crisis is a relative term at Manchester City. Nine summers ago, their pre-season friendlies were against Torpoint Athletic and Newquay; their second-biggest transfer was £10,000 to Port Melbourne Sharks for the not-entirely-successful services of Danny Allsopp and the kit launch had to be cancelled due to an absence of shirts.

Yet this has been a bewildering close season. Conveniently for satirists, there has been a circus parked outside Eastlands, and with less than a month to go until the start of training, Manchester City have no manager, have made no signings and have lost two of their best players. Yesterday, the board were coming to terms with the fact that the takeover bid from the former Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was dead in the water.

Shinawatra's lawyer, Noppadol Pattama, said the freezing of 21 bank accounts, containing £830 million, by the military junta that replaced him might "delay any investment" while his advisors thought it was "50-50" whether the deal could be salvaged. Most analysts believe Manchester City's statement to the Stock Exchange on Monday, that they were awaiting "the implications" of the latest move against Shinawatra, signalled the end of the courtship.

The City board are almost out of patience. Chief executive Alistair Mackintosh has already turned his attention from overseeing a takeover to appointing a manager to succeed Stuart Pearce, who was sacked 28 days ago. Although initial plans to appoint Claudio Ranieri were hamstrung by the constant delays waiting for Shinawatra to make his move, it is thought a successor to Pearce could be appointed next week.

After an emergency board meeting yesterday, chairman John Wardle addressed a supporters group inside Eastlands. Although Wardle and his business partner, David Makin, were keen to sell their investment in the club which, including loans, amount to £50 million, Wardle is likely to lead City into the new season. He said he would keep to his pledge, made in April, to provide "substantial funding" to his manager, whether or not the Shinawatra takeover materialised.

Despite demands from the Newcastle manager, Sam Allardyce, and an intervention by the Professional Footballers' Association, City are expected to resist any demand to give Joey Barton a "loyalty payment" of £300,000 because the midfielder did not ask for his transfer to St James' Park.

While it could be said that Barton asked for a transfer the moment he attacked team-mate Ousmane Dabo in training, Mackintosh will argue that agent Willie McKay alerted other clubs to the £5.5 million release clause Barton's in his contract, thereby requesting a transfer by default.

This is unlikely to sway Allardyce, who was at his impassioned best yesterday. "Manchester City are out of order," he said. "I am flabbergasted and I want the situation resolved as soon as possible. I cannot understand it, because City did not pay anything for this player as he came through their youth system, and they are selling him for more than £5 million."

With Sylvain Distin already gone, City supporters who gathered at Eastlands were understandably anxious. "Manchester City are not in limbo," said one source close to the board. "People say that because we don't have a manager we have missed out on transfer targets, and we have. We have missed out on Titus Bramble, Gavin McCann and Antoine Sibierski. None of those would have interested Manchester City.

"We are well on the way to appointing a manager long before the planes carrying the players back from holiday touch the tarmac. Manchester City may be in hospital but it is sitting up and taking hot food. It is not in a coma."

The Guardian:

Manchester City were confronted with more bad news last night when the Sevilla coach, Juande Ramos, indicated he would follow Claudio Ranieri in turning down the chance to take over as manager.

As Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in Manchester to try to save his proposed £90m takeover from ending in embarrassment, Ramos told reporters in Spain that he wanted to stay at Sevilla and expected to extend his contract once the Spanish season ends on Sunday.

City are entitled to be confused because intermediaries apparently acting for Ramos contacted Thaksin's representatives early in the takeover process to say he would be keen to move to the Premiership. However, the idea of Ramos succeeding Stuart Pearce was now "almost impossible", according to the Spaniard's agent, Alvaro Torres, and City may reluctantly have to turn to some of the names further down their list.

Whereas a few weeks ago the club were talking about Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman, the leading Dutch candidate now appears to be Co Adriaanse, whose last club were Metalurh Donetsk of Ukraine.

Chris Coleman, the former Fulham manager, has emerged among the leading British candidates but that again shows how far City have had to readjust their sights since making the mistake of leaving the process of finding a new manager exclusively to Thaksin and his advisers.

Ramos has led Sevilla to back-to-back Uefa Cup titles and his team still have an outside chance of beating Barcelona and Real Madrid to the Spanish title, as well as having a Copa del Rey final against Getafe to come. His contract expires at the end of the season but Sevilla's qualification for the Champions League means he is automatically entitled to a one-year extension and Torres has a meeting scheduled with the club president, José María Del Nido.

"I am happy in Seville because I have the chance to make the very most of my career here," said Ramos. "That is my dream. The extension is there for me if I want it, although I do need to ask some questions of Seville. That will have to wait until the end of June, because now we play for our lives in two big matches."

He admitted that he wanted to work in England "in the future" but insisted that there had not been contact from City and that, if there were, he would rebuff the interest. "It is flattering to see my name in the pages of the English newspapers but, really, in this moment I think it would be very complicated for me to leave."