Guardiola is leaving Bayern Munich at the end of the season. These rumours and transfer gossip have been circulated so many times during the past few months, that it was hardly a surprise for anyone when Bayern Munich made an official statement about their Catalan coach leaving at the end of the season and announcing Carlo Ancelotti as his successor.
This was the exact same scenario back in 2013, after Jupp Heynckes announced his retirement, the Bundesliga Champions wasted no time in presenting Guardiola as the next man in charge. There shouldn’t be much speculation about his future since it is Pepai??i??s habit to take a sabbatical long enough to decide his future and then come back into the spot light as the manager of another big club.
But 72 hours before Pepai??i??s imminent departure became official, the ground started to rumble in North London as under fire Jose Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea Football Club. In Manchester, both the Red and Blue halvesai??i?? managers were staring into a blank future albeit due to different circumstances. Louis Van Gaal, facing all the slack due to Unitedai??i??s poor run of performances and Manuel Pellegrini though signing a contract extension till 2017 with Manchester City, was left to accept the fact that he would have to leave Etihad Stadium at the end of the season with all the speculation about Guardiola replacing him.This managerial merry-go-round has also resulted in some talk about Arsenal looking for the former Barcelona coachai??i??s signature if the Gunners win the league title this year and Arsene Wenger decides to bow out on a high.
Bayern CEO Karl Heinz Rummeniggeai??i??s statement saying that he knows where Pep is going has set the transfer market buzzing as to which club will that be. There has also been reported interest from PSGai??i??s Arab owners, but the former Barcelona coach looks to have set his sights on premier league Although there are still months left over on his contract with Bayern, it will be interesting to look at which premier league club suits Guardiolaai??i??s philosophy and vision.
Currently Man Unitedai??i??s managerial conundrum is more complicated than what it looks like. The clubai??i??s non winning streak has extended to 8 games after yesterdayai??i??s goalless draw with Chelsea, fans demand Van Gaalai??i??s sacking, even club legends Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes have lambasted the teamai??i??s style under the Dutch coach. Although Van Gaal himself announcing that he wont resign as the Red Devilai??i??s manager and United players publicly coming out in support for their coach shows a stable atmosphere on the front, but the ground looks to be sinking beneath him.
If Van Gaal decides to step down or the management decides to show him the door, Manchester United will be biggest challenge for Guardiola to showcase his genius on the English soil. Guardiolaai??i??s extremely successful system at Barcelona has been developed on the foundation laid by Van Gaal himself, but it was the Catalanai??i??s use of refined pressing and positional football that made Barcelona dominant in Europe.
If Pep decides to inherit the squad managed by his former coach, the scenario will be different from that of Barcelona. The tactics employed by Van Gaal this term have not pleased many with United stamped as a Boringa by the fans, a word Guardiola is used to hearing at Bayern and Barca. Another reason for this is the high demands of the English game and particularly at Manchester United where all the emphasis is laid on attacking and heavy-duty defending which is not the same in Spain. Pep likes his teams to build up attacks craftily from the back rather than using direct football, a philosophy United are struggling to embrace currently under Van Gaal.
But Guardiola believes in adapting to new cultures of football which is clearly evident from the way he has transformed Bayern from a swift counter attacking side into a technically superior, tactically flexible outfit which is definitely different from his Barcelona side. The management won’t be problem like Guardiolaai??i??s previous relations at Barca where he had to deal with internal politics like the Presidential elections. But still it will be a tricky job to take up given the enormity of the club and as we have seen, the post Ferguson era will not be kind on managers who sit in the managerai??i??s office.
The most likeliest destination for Guardiola is the Etihad Stadium as he was being linked to the Citizens since his reluctance to sign a new contract with Bayern surfaced. Another reason for these talks is the presence of Man Cityai??i??s director of football Txiki Begiristain who has a close relationship with Guardiola from their Barcelona days. Manuel Pellegrini looked set to leave the club last summer after failing to lift any major trophies, but after renewing his contract he looked confident to motivate his squad to fight for silverware this season. And strangely he even admitted in a recent interview that it would be great if Guardiola gets the City job.
Obviously Manchester Cityai??i??s objective will be to establish themselves in Europe after rising to power in 2012 by winning the premier league after four decades. Both Roberto Mancini and his successor have tried and fell short of guiding Manchester City past the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League. Although both the coaches have combined experience of 38 years managing teams, they were unable to find the key to Cityai??i??s European Success. The first reason that comes to mind is the clubai??i??s inexperience in Europe. Even if Guardiola takes up the job at the Etihad, he will have to keep the team in the Premier League title race as well as have plans ready for Champions League which is fairly tough when it is compared to his current time at Bayern Munich or back when he was at Barcelona.
A great pool of talent is already available in the form of David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, Vincent Kompany and players will be made available for him with the spending spree their Qatari ownership is capable of. But Guardiolaai??i??s main objective will be to bring cohesion in the team and not depending on individual brilliance of their star players like they do now. For a club who have the ambition to do big in Europe, a proven winner and an innovator in the form of Pep would be a great step towards their goals.
This is a tough one to say. Because whoever is coming in after Guus Hiddink, has a lot of rebuilding to do, from bringing in new back room staff to upgrading the ageing squad to convincing the fans that their team is going to lift trophies again. Then comes the challenge of knitting back the squad back together in order to fix the mess left behind by Mourinho which will continue be the problem in the dressing room despite a temporary managerial change at Stamford Bridge.
Even big coaches like Carlo Ancelotti, Felipe Scolari and Jose Mourinho (twice) have been shown the door, an awkward situation which Guardiola has not been in previously. He always tries to be in good terms with the club hierarchy and if it is not possible he leaves the club on his own terms like he did at Barcelona. Roman Abramovichai??i??s patience with his managers is well documented and the prime example is when Roberto Di Matteo was sacked the following season despite winning the Champions League in 2012 at the cost of Guardiolaai??i??s Barcelona and his current side Bayern Munich. .
If only the footballing side of the Chelsea job is considered, ignoring the ownership point of view, Guardiola will have the task to do a mini overhaul of personnel which is clearly visible from the ailing defence and creatively poor attack of Blues. Chelsea have dazzled fans and neutrals alike with their free flowing football for major part of 2014-15 season, the type which Guardiola cherishes. But the task will be to bring back the swagger which is not easy. Although Abramovich is not an owner who gives too little time for big managers to build a team, it will be longer than usual with the amount of things that are needed to be addressed or will be. If at all Chelsea wish to get Pepai??i??s signature, they will have start the repairs right now or have enough patience until the team is restored to full health.
The rumours about Arsenal trying for Pep look too far fetched, because of Arsene Wengerai??i??s stature at the club and any smaller premier league club trying to sign Guardiola is highly unlikely. The language is not a barrier for the ex-Barca midfielder and fans will surely love him wherever he goes with his trophy laden CV and the hunger for new challenges. But which club will he choose?