Saturday 10 December 2016

Chelsea, Man United and Man City on alert with Pep Guardiola set to leave Bayern

Published 16/12/2015 | 09:32

Bayern Munich's coach Pep Guardiola
Bayern Munich's coach Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is set to announce his decision to leave Bayern Munich, according to reports in Spain.

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The 44-year-old former Barcelona coach has been strongly linked with Barclays Premier League club Manchester City, whose interest will be piqued by the anticipated announcement from Bavaria.

On Wednesday Marca reported that Guardiola has already informed the Bundesliga champions he is ready to seek out a new opportunity, the newspaper further claiming he is prepared to reject a 20 million euro per season offer to continue at the Allianz Arena.

The Catalan has twice guided Bayern to the German title but the Champions League trophy has eluded him, with Real Madrid and then Barcelona eliminating the Bavarians in 2014 and 2015.

He took a year's sabbatical after four successful seasons leading Barca and was announced as Jupp Heynckes' summer replacement in the Bayern dugout back in January 2013.

Manuel Pellegrini remains in charge of City, but the two-time Premier League champions could be tempted to move quickly and secure Guardiola's services should he make himself available in the new year. Manchester United and Chelsea have also been linked with the former Spain midfielder.

Following a German Cup win over Darmstadt las night, Guardiola said he will clarify his future plans within the next seven days.

"Tonight, I have no answer," Guardiola said on Tuesday. "Next week there will be clarity."

Guardiola, 44, is half way through the third and final year of his current contract and says he will announce his decision to stay or go before December 25. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is ready to make Guardiola a generous offer to extend his stay by laying out "many positive reasons to stay at Bayern".

Club captain Philipp Lahm has also told the coach the squad want him to stay. "The team's position is clear, we enjoy working with our coach and we really, really want to keep doing so," said Lahm.

Spain international Xabi Alonso is reported to want to extend his contract, which also expires in June, should Guardiola stay. And even Bayern fans got in on the act.

On Guardiola's pre-Christmas visit to a Bayern fan club earlier this month, one supporter, dressed as Father Christmas, cheekily handed him an elaborate scroll. It was a spoof contract to remain Bayern's coach for the rest of his life.

Although he laughed it off, Guardiola has become increasingly annoyed by the constant rounds of rumours, which has even seen him linked to the England national team.

Marti Perarnau, the Spanish journalist who shadowed Guardiola through his first season in Munich, has insisted England will be Pep's next stop.

Various sources claim Guardiola has already signed a deal to join Manchester City and will take charge ahead of next season.

City's rivals Manchester United have entered the fray as possible future employers to replace Louis van Gaal following poor results and their Champions League exit.

And with Chelsea close to the Premier League relegation places, Guardiola's name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.

Yet the Spaniard has given no indication of where his future lies. His reputation for success, having won 19 titles as either coach of Barcelona or Bayern, leaves Europe' top clubs clamouring for his services.

Regardless of whether he stays or goes at the end of the season, Guardiola wants to get his hands on the Champions League trophy again in the May 28 final.

It would be his third European crown after his 2009 and 2011 success with Barca and would only enhance his pristine reputation.

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