Manuel Pellegrini appears set to survive as Manchester City manager into the beginning of next season - unless the club suffers a catastrophic end to the campaign or Pep Guardiola makes himself available.
Senior sources have strongly dismissed suggestions that Carlo Ancelotti, who was considered for the job previously, is being lined up as Pellegrini's successor this summer should he leave Real Madrid.
Pellegrini's prospects would plummet, however, should Guardiola indicate that he is prepared to leave Bayern Munich.
Nevertheless City would face stiff competition from a number of Europe's leading clubs should Guardiola become available.
Both Pellegrini and Guardiola have only one full season left on their deals at their present clubs and while City are not considering offering their manager an extension, the intention at present does appear to be to keep faith with him despite the likelihood that they will not retain the Premier League title and having failed to make progress in the Champions League.
City strongly deny suggestions that they have already considered sacking Pellegrini, although that faith would clearly be quickly eroded if there was any chance of the club not finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season's Champions League.
City are second in the table, six points behind leaders Chelsea, having played a game more, but seven ahead of fifth-placed Liverpool. It means last week's victory over West Bromwich Albion followed by Liverpool's loss to Manchester United could prove to be hugely significant.
However, if City finish outside the top two then the intention to keep Pellegrini for the start of next season will also be severely tested. The Chilean needs a strong final eight matches to the season.
A lack of viable alternatives is contributing to City's approach given they regard this season's disappointments very differently from the unhappy campaign which culminated in the sacking of Pellegrini's predecessor, Roberto Mancini.
Mancini's position became untenable not because of results but because of the breakdown of relationships at the club and his abrasive management style.
Pellegrini is viewed more sympathetically, even if he faces the uncomfortable reality of going into the final year of his contract knowing that there may be a fight for Guardiola. The Spaniard has stated that he will "of course" fulfil his contract at Bayern, but has stopped short of saying whether he will sign a new deal. The expectation is that he will remain until the summer of 2016.
City have also been linked with a move for the Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, who has just signed a new deal, but there is not believed to be any interest with the Argentine's style, and style of play, not fitting what the club's hierarchy are looking for.
Similarly Rafael Benitez, who is set to leave Napoli and wants to return to the Premier League, does not fit the profile.
Pellegrini's position will be discussed at City's end of season review which will also place under scrutiny, in particular, the work done by director of football Txiki Begiristain whose signings, such as pounds 42m defender Eliaquim Mangala, have been questioned.