Football’s worst kept secret was finally made official on Deadline Day, as Manchester City confirmed that Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will be taking over as manager at the Etihad from the start of next season. The former Barcelona boss replaces current chief Manuel Pellegrini in what is a massive coup for the Blues.
By implementing his style of play on Barcelona, he was able to lead the Catalan club to three league titles, the Copa Del Rey twice, two Champions League crowns, three Spanish Super Cups, two Club World Cup trophies and two UEFA Super Cups. It was an incredible spell where Guardiola and Barca won 14 trophies in just four seasons.
At Bayern Munich the success has continued, with five more trophies in the space of two years. He is also on course to take the German giants to a third successive league title, whilst they’re still fighting in the German Cup and the Champions League – with that being the only trophy he is yet to win with Bayern.
But what does this mean for City? And what does it mean for their rivals?
Guardiola has already proven himself in Spain and Germany, and he now has the chance to succeed in England. Whilst there are sure to be fans left disappointed that their club didn’t manage to secure his signature, the fans of Manchester City must be extremely excited about what this means for them.
City have the financial power to rival most – if not all – clubs in world football, even if they don’t boast the same size support that their cross city rivals United can.
They have already emerged as one of English football’s most powerful teams, having won the league twice in recent years – in 2012 and 2014 – as well as getting their hands on the FA Cup and the League Cup under Roberto Mancini and Pellegrini respectively.
Guardiola is the kind of manager that will take control of the club, not just the team. He is a manager that has been given praise by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager that was seen as a dream appointment by Chelsea chairman Roman Abramovic, and one that has received the love and respect of his players at both Barca and Bayern.
Lionel Messi is one of his greatest success stories. Guardiola oversaw the rise and development of the Argentine, and built the team around him. German hero Phillip Lahm has also led the plaudits for him since his arrival in Germany.
But arguably the best thing he brings with him to England is his status. Players around the world look at him as a coach they would love to play for. He has a bigger pull for the top class players than Pellegrini does.
Whilst City are doing well this season, fighting for the title, into the final of the Capital One Cup, through to round five of the FA Cup and in the knockout stages of the Champions League, you get the feeling that the club are yet to be completely satisfied with theirguardiog progression.
Guardiola could be the man to change that. City have never reached the heights in European competition, whilst they still have some way to go before they can rival the likes of United and Arsenal regarding their trophy haul.
But the tide seems to be turning in their favour, and luring Guardiola could be the key to cementing their place among the top tables of English and European football.
Chelsea are without Jose Mourinho, who left the club following a disastrous start to the season, United have a manger in Louis Van Gaal that is failing to inspire the fans at Old Trafford as well as producing football that is seen by most as boring, and Arsenal’s long-serving boss Arsene Wenger must surely be coming towards the end of his time in charge.
Wenger hasn’t won the league title since 2004, and whilst he may finally win it again this season, some fans are starting to lose patience with him.
Charismatic German Jurgen Klopp is at Liverpool, and he is embarking upon a project at Anfield to make the club real contenders again having succeeded Brendan Rodgers.
All that means that, were Arsenal, United or Chelsea hoping to bring Guardiola in, they will now be left disappointed. And with Carlo Ancelotti replacing the Spaniard at Bayern, the number of top level coaches available is thinning.
Guardiola now has the chance to build a legacy at one of the newest superclubs in world football, and should his stint in charge land them a European trophy, he would be a resounding success.
We will undoubtedly see various rumours surrounding City and players that their new manager could bring with him, from his stars at Bayern to the brilliant Barca players.
One thing is certain though. This has been an exciting period for Manchester City fans, and it’s just stepped up a notch.