In one of the more predictable announcements in the topsy turvy world of football management, Bayern Munich have confirmed that manager Pep Guardiola will not be extending his contract beyond the end of the season. The Spaniard’s next move, however, remains clouded in mystery. With a Premier League switch the most likely option, here is a quick look at potential clubs for the most in-demand manager in world football.
Perhaps the favourites for Guardiola’s signature, Manchester City have long been building, both on and off the pitch, towards this moment. Although Manuel Pellegrini has 18 months to go on his contract at the Etihad, the club have been in constant pursuit of Guardiola, and the presence of former Barcelona directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain has always made this seem like a move waiting to happen. In an interview yesterday, Pellegrini himself stated that Guardiola would be fantastic as Manchester City manager; he probably didn’t mean this summer though.
In the cut-throat world of football management, even another Premier League title is unlikely to be enough to guarantee Pellegrini’s position should Guardiola indicate that City is his preferred destination.
These are interesting times at Manchester United. After 26 years of success and consistency under Sir Alex Ferguson, fans are struggling to come to terms with the disappointment of David Moyes’ short spell in charge and the lack of progress under current boss Louis van Gaal.
Although sacking managers has never been the United way, a boss of Guardiola’s calibre doesn’t become available too often. If the struggles of Van Gaal continue into the new year, it would be remiss of the club not to consider an approach. The Spaniard has, in the past, made public his appreciation of Manchester United, and it’s widely believed that he would choose them over any other club in England.
Despite a bad couple of years, the Red Devils remain a beacon of footballing prestige, and the chance to restore them to the top of European football is an appealing task for a man of Guardiola’s ambition. Whether the club are willing to sack another manager to guarantee his services will be the defining factor.
If the rumours coming out of Stamford Bridge in recent years are true, owner Roman Abramovic longs for his side to win whilst playing with flair and style. While these to traits were never exactly prioritised under Jose Mourinho, you can’t argue with the success he brought to the club.
Now that Mourinho is gone and Guus Hiddink has taken the reigns on a temporary basis, Pep Guardiola would be a fantastic appointment for the Premier League champions in the summer. Aside from the resources that would be at his disposal, the appeal of working in cosmopolitan London, instead of the north of England, shouldn’t be underestimated.
When exactly Arsene Wenger will step down as Arsenal manager is anybody’s guess. The Frenchman has been at the helm for over twenty years, and at the moment looks in with a chance of winning a Premier League title for the first time in 11 years. But if ever there was a man who seemed tailor-made to suit the Arsenal philosophy it would be Guardiola. Along with a technically gifted squad, the club’s fans have an appreciation of aesthetics that perhaps only the Spaniard can satisfy.
There’s no doubt that Arsenal would be a great fit for Guardiola, but if Wenger stays on the board then by the summer it may be too late. A move to Manchester United, Manchester City or London rivals Chelsea would make managing Arsenal in the future difficult, although not impossible. Maybe one day, Gunners fans.
If a Premier League move doesn’t materialise this summer, then Guardiola may be tempted by the lure of Paris, and the nouveau riche giants PSG. The challenge of building them into a European force on par with the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich is an appealing one, and he’s already, during his time in Germany, shown that managing in a league with little domestic competition is not a problem for him.