Manchester City management have high hopes for Patrick Vieira.
The former French international has been put in charge of City's elite development squad after spending two years as the club's football development executive.
The long-term aim is for Vieira to take over first-team affairs.
City are set to appoint Manuel Pellegrini as coach once he has finished the season with Malaga next month.
The Chilean will sign a two-year deal, with an option for a further 12 months, and it is hoped that Vieira will then be ready.
A City insider told the Mirror: "Patrick is highly respected, both inside the club and in football. The plan is to give him the experience he will need to move into management.
"Patrick has learned all about the culture of the club over the past two years. Putting him in charge of the EDS is the next step in a career path that has the ultimate aim of seeing him in charge of the first team."