Pep Guardiola considering Man United over neighbours City
Pep Guardiola has told friends that he could join Manchester United instead of Manchester City next summer.
The Spanish manager has sparked a frenzy of speculation over who will be his next club after it was confirmed he would be leaving Bayern Munich at the end of this season.
Manchester City are understood to be leading the race, with Guardiola's relationship with executives Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano, who worked with him at Barcelona, believed to be capable of swinging his decision in their favour.
However, Manchester City will have competition, with Chelsea seeking a new manager in the summer and even Arsenal mooted as a potential destination.
Manchester United though are considered to be their greatest rivals for Guardiola, with the Old Trafford club appearing increasingly likely to be in need of a new manager if the club continues on the same trajectory they are currently heading under Louis van Gaal. It's claimed that Guardiola would be keen on any vacancy at Old Trafford, with the history and prestige of the club proving attractive.
A source said: "Pep always found the club fascinating. He likes clubs with huge tradition and United certainly have this.
"He won't be short of options when it comes to deciding his next move and Manchester City are an ambitious club. But United could still prove to be the more attractive proposition."
It is understood that current Manchester United manager Van Gaal will be dimissed if United lose either of their next two games, which are against Stoke and Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger believes that Jamie Vardy, the striker who could stand between the Arsenal manager and the Premier League title, is a £30m player.
Arsenal could go top tonight if they beat Southampton and Leicester do not win against Liverpool at Anfield. With Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea slipping away, it is the unlikeliest title race in years, and owes much to Leicester striker Vardy's historic run of 11 consecutive scoring games in the Premier League.
The 28-year-old is in pole position for the golden boot, with 15 league goals, and Wenger said Vardy was "without a doubt" worth £30m, the same fee he paid Barcelona for Alexis Sanchez. Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with January moves for the prolific attacker, but there is no suggestion that Claudio Ranieri's employers are in any mood to sell.
"Yes he is worth £30m, because he is the best goalscorer in the league," Wenger said. "You have many players under him who have been paid much more, and who don't score that number of goals. Without a doubt, he is worth that money today."
Vardy signed for Leicester for £1m from Fleetwood Town in 2012. "The mystery behind Vardy, at 28 years old, is why nobody bought him before," said Wenger. "And why did he not have that success before? But today, of course, nobody would dispute [his worth]."
Wenger pointed to the fact that fees of around £30m are routinely paid for top goalscorers. "If you put that in the context of the financial power today of the top clubs, £30m is not that massive for a striker," Wenger said. "Just compare it to Anthony Martial [for whom Manchester United paid Monaco £36m in the summer]."
Top-class strikers are hard to find and Wenger's decision not to sign an upgrade for Olivier Giroud this summer appears to have been vindicated. "The society today always wants something new," Wenger said. "We have news every half an hour, or every minute. But football is as well about cohesion, about stability. Cohesion is an under-rated factor in our society."
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has showered praise on Ranieri's side as he prepares to try and halt their momentum, stating that their playing approach is close to perfection.
"I'm not surprised (about their progress)" said the German, "They play nearly perfect counter-attacking football, very quick. That's how football works, you need to use and take your chances. That's what they do. They don't need too many chances to score."