Where next for Pep Guardiola? Here's four possible Premier League destinations
Pep Guardiola’s name is likely to dominate the sports news agenda in the first half of 2016, with his probable move to England’s Premier League set to provide a compelling sub-plot to the European football narrative.
With his current contract at Bayern Munich set to expire next summer and suggestions that he is unlikely to sign a new deal, a switch to the most lucrative league in world football may be next on his coaching bucket list.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United would all be in the mix to snare the two-time Champions League winning manager and here is your Indepdendent.ie guide to where would his brand of fantasy football be best suited in the English game?
Why Manchester United should get Guardiola
A report claiming that Guardiola has set his sights on becoming Louis van Gaal successor at Old Trafford set pulses racing for many Manchester United fans last weekend, yet there must be some doubt over the credibility of such a theory.
If Guardiola was harbouring ambitions to become United manager, why did he not follow up on his initial meeting with Alex Ferguson in America back in 2012 to push him claims to succeed the Scot at Old Trafford?
Ferguson has admitted that he was disappointed by Guardiola’s lack of eagerness to explore the possibility of becoming United boss, so it is far from certain that this decorated tactician is devoted to the idea of becoming Old Trafford chief.
Guardiola would be the ideal man to take United into a new era of dominance, but he is likely to be available for hire next summer and United would need to off-load Van Gaal a year before the end of his contract in the summer of 2017, many of the club’s fans would endorse that plan.
Will it happen? Van Gaal’s position at United will become clearer in the coming weeks and if his side is dumped out of the Champions League at Wolfsburg next week, the alarm bells will be ringing loudly at Old Trafford. The Dutchman’s lack of popularity among the club’s fans means a change is possible in 2016 and that would be even more likely if Guardiola was ready to take over.
Why Arsenal should get Guardiola
There have been suggestions that Guardiola would relish a move to London and if that claim is accurate, Arsenal could be a perfect home. Stability has been at the heart of Arsenal’s strategy during Arsene Wenger’s enduring reign as the club’s manager, with Guardiola’s arrival offering the potential for a new era of continuity to start immediately.
Arsenal will be desperate to avoid the period of decline that stuck at the heart of Manchester United following Alex Ferguson’s retirement and there are not many managers in the game who could offer that guarantee.
With a huge cash surplus at his disposal to make the signings that could take Arsenal to the next level and a manager who would have the gravitas to attract the best players in the game, this would be a marriage made in heaven.
Will it happen? Arsenal could offer similar financial terms to the rivals who will be competing for Guardiola’s services, but it seems unlikely that Wenger will step aside next summer and open the door for a successor. That could mean that the Gunners miss out on this ideal candidate to take the Gunners hot-seat.
Why Manchester City should get Guardiola
Even though Manchester City have denied they already have an agreement in place to hire Guardiola next summer, this move has long seemed the most likely in his career.
The presence of his former Barcelona colleague Txiki Begiristain as one of the key decision makers in the City hierarchy confirms that familiar faces will be promoting the push for Guardiola, with the continued failure of manager Manuel Pellegrini to push the club towards the top of the European game making his departure inevitable next summer.
Guardiola arrival at City would potentially give the club the X Factor they are lacking because while the value of the club is soaring, the lack the worldwide support that clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool command thanks to their rich history of success.
City have made some high profile signings in recent years, but snaring Guardiola would be their deal best yet.
Will it happen? This still appears to be the most likely destination for Guardiola, with City’s decision makers already having good relations with their long-term coaching target. They also appear to be well placed to broker a deal with the Bayern Munich coach that will ensure their Premier League rivals can beat them to his signature.
Why Chelsea should get Guardiola
It was no coincidence that reports emerged from the Guardiola camp suggesting he was keen to make a move to a London club just at a time when Mourinho appeared to be on the brink of the sack at Chelsea last month.
Guardiola’s would doubtless see a sweet irony in building his next dynasty at the club that Jose Mourinho calls his own, with deep-root hatred existing between the crown prince from Barcelona and the bad boy who took over at Real Madrid on a mission to shatter Guardiola’s glossy aura.
Mourinho made Guardiola’s final year as Barcelona boss a miserable experience as Real Madrid took away their Spanish title and it is safe to assume that the Spaniard would enjoy his time in English football a little more if his Portuguese foe was not on the Premier League agenda.
Will it happen? Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has long had ambitions to appoint Guardiola as his club’s manager, with the brand of joyous football he promotes appealing to the Russian decision maker. If it turns into an auction between City and Chelsea to sign Guardiola, the wages he would command would be astronomical.
PEP GUARDIOLA’S NEXT CLUB
Manchester City 10/11
Manchester United 4/1