Patrick Vieira has the backing of Manchester City players to replace Manuel Pellegrini should the club sack the under-fire manager.

Pellegrini’s future at the Etihad Stadium is under scrutiny following a largely disappointing campaign.

Vieira would be a candidate to take over from Pellegrini should the City board decide to make a change.

And a collective of senior players would like to see the Frenchman given the reins if Pellegrini goes.

The former Arsenal midfielder is highly-respected amongst playing staff at the club.

Likewise, his excellent work with City’s Elite Development Squad has not gone unnoticed by the squad.

And a core group of players in the City first-team believe Vieira should be given the opportunity to step up into the senior fold.

City’s first-choice managerial option remains Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola; director Txiki Beguirstain’s trip to Germany on Tuesday fuelling talk of a final bid to lure the Spaniard to England in time for next season.

However, Guardiola has made his intention to stay with Bayern for at least another season crystal clear.

Though, Sportsmail understands Guardiola will listen to offers from English clubs to join in time for the start of the 2016/17 season.

That means City must wait at least another year before having a realistic chance of poaching Guardiola.

And if the current Barclays Premier League champions decide to axe Pellegrini this summer, then Vieira is emerging as a strong contender to replace the South American.

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