Roberto Mancini to Manchester United? It’s hard to shake off vivid memories of him running across the Etihad Stadium pitch back in 2012 - I really don't think I need to remind anyone here what had just happened.

Fast forward nearly 10 years and the Italian is now being linked as the next United manager. Football really is a funny game.

It wasn't that long ago, even if it may feel like it amid United's protracted attempts to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Brendan Rodgers was linked with the United job and one of the biggest issues United fans had with the prospect of any appointment was his history and connections with bitter rivals Liverpool. And this will almost certainly be the case when discussing Mancini too.

But omens are already on United's side when it comes to someone crossing the divide to manage at Old Trafford.

There was a player during the late 1920s who played for Manchester City for eight years. Then in 1945, the same player had become the Manchester United manager before embarking on some of the most magical moments in the club’s history. I am of course talking about none other than the great Sir Matt Busby- the man who delivered United their very first European Cup.

The previous links tying Rodgers and United had other implications on top of the Liverpool relation. The fact he has a tendency to fail at the final hurdle over the past two seasons with Leicester’s failure to qualify for the Champions League was also something sticking in the back of United fans’ minds.

But when assessing Mancini, his record speaks for itself. He was the man who delivered City their first league title (which we won’t discuss any further) and also went on an incredible 37-game streak internationally without losing a single match which included Euro 2020 glory in the summer with the penalty shootout win over England. His reputation of distinctive play which suits his strongest players would be very welcomed at Old Trafford given the criticism levelled at this team has often centred on their lack of a clear style with which they play.

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We’ve also seen in history through Busby that previous affiliations with rival clubs do not affect the relationship with supporters once on-pitch success has been clearly demonstrated and Mancini doesn’t come across as the emotional type to let that impact on his managerial big-game nous.

Ralf Rangnick is now the man in charge until the end of the season before taking a consultancy role at the club, and a partnership of Rangnick and Mancini overseeing the footballing side of things at Old Trafford could be the kind of managerial cocktail to restore United to their past glories.

It’s fair to say Mancini wouldn’t be every United fan's first choice when debating over who the next permanent manager will be but you only have to look at the historic and phenomenal tenure of Busby to see how effective someone can be, irrespective of their past.

And let’s face it, Liverpool are United’s biggest rivals anyway!