Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has contacted Andres Iniesta and offered him an opportunity to join him at Manchester City in the coming transfer window.
According to Spanish publication Don Balon, Guardiola is trying to convince the legendary midfielder to join him at the Etihad as a part of his Manchester City revolution, and has promised him silverware and a return to the kind of form that made him one of the best players in the world.
Iniesta, who recently turned 33, is coming off a season plagued with knee and muscle injuries. He has only a year left on his current contract and according to the report, doesn’t want to be a ‘burden’ on an ambitious squad that is getting younger by the season.
The La Masia graduate made only 37 appearances last season, scoring 1 goal and registering 6 assists. He started only 25 of those games, due to injuries and constant squad rotation by Luis Enrique. Needless to say, it was a disappointing season for the Spanish international.
Guardiola and Iniesta are said to have a fantastic relationship, given the amount of the success they achieved together at Barcelona. Under the management of the 46-year-old, Iniesta blossomed into one of the world’s foremost midfielders and they won 14 major trophies in 4 seasons.
The former Bayern Munich boss had a difficult first season in England and despite spending nearly €200 million, had no silverware to show for it and managed to finish 3rd in the League. He has continued a massive squad overhaul that began last year, having let go of 7 players already.
City have already spent vast sums in bringing Bernardo Silva from AS Monaco and Ederson from Benfica and they also been heavily linked with Iniesta’s teammate Jordi Alba and former Barcelona fullback Dani Alves, who recently left Juventus by mutual consent.
It is clear that Guardiola is looking to build a new City team in his image, one that can constantly compete with the best teams in Europe and for that, he will need players who will understand his philosophy and there are few players in the world who would understand it better than Iniesta.
Guardiola once famously told Xavi: “You’re going to retire me. This lad [Iniesta] is going to retire us all.” Those words ultimately proved true, but now Iniesta is not the player he once was. He will have to compete with David and Bernardo Silva, Toure, Gundogan and De Bruyne for a place in the starting XI, but should Guardiola help him rediscover his best form then the Citizens would have a fearsome player on their hands.
It remains to be seen whether Iniesta is a big part of Ernesto Valverde’s plans and Iniesta’s future may be decided by Barcelona’s transfer activity in the coming window. The Blaugrana could certainly use whatever they manage to get for Iniesta this summer to purchase reinforcements.
Lionel Messi’s new contract will also set them back a fortune and they will have to raise more funds from somewhere. Iniesta can certainly keep on playing for another few years at a top European club and may even consider calling time on his 20-year-association with Barcelona. Though it may seem unlikely, his acquisition would be huge step in the right direction for Guardiola as he looks to conquer England.