When last questioned about his managerial future, Arsène Wenger told the Mail on Sunday “Ideally I would not want to leave without this generation winning a trophy”. This quote came on the back of rumours over the summer that Wenger could move on to manage Real Madrid in the future. It’s unlikely that Wenger will move on in the near future, but who knows where he’ll be in 2-3 seasons time?
Although a Premier League without Sir Alex Ferguson is unthinkable, it is also somewhat inevitable. Of course, he’s still passionate about the game and any considerations about his future would be based purely on hearsay and rumour. However, he’s 68-years-old now and it may not be too long until retirement beckons. Whilst this question may be a couple of years away from being realised, I still think it’s important to consider: How do you replace two managerial legends like Arsène Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson?
One potential answer comes in the form of Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola. He has a number of qualities that might just make him the perfect solution for Arsenal and United’s pending problems.
Firstly, at 38-years-old, he’s still young. In managerial terms, he’s barely out of the womb. The likes of Arsenal and Manchester United will likely be looking for a fresh face rather than an old, experienced type, since they’ll want to take on somebody who will be with them for the long-term. As a club you don’t want to be changing Managers at the same rate you transfer players – a manager should bring a sense of consistency and control to the squad. Guardiola’s youth means that he has the potential to stay at either club for a long, long time.
That’s not to say that his youth comes without experience. Consider what Guardiola’s already achieved in his short time at Barcelona. In his first season as manager Guardiola won the treble of La Liga, the UEFA Champion’s League and the Copa del Rey. The following season saw Guardiola steer Barcelona towards the clubs first sextuple. He’s the youngest manager to have ever won the Champion’s League. Despite his short time at the head of Barcelona, his list of achievements and plaudits go on and on.
You might argue that Guardiola is blessed with a group of players with whom it would be difficult not to achieve greatness. Yet what’s impressive about Guardiola is his style of management. He came to manage a Barcelona side that was already a huge success and yet was still keen to emphasise an even harder work ethic. Under Guardiola Barcelona have become arguably the best pressing and pressuring side in Europe.
Manchester United and Arsenal are two very attacking sides. Guardiola has ample experience managing a team most renowned for their superior attacking football. He has experience managing players with difficult egos. He has already proven himself at a young age. If he were available at the right time for either Arsenal or United when they find themselves searching for a new manager, you can’t help but feel as though he would be the perfect man for the job.
Of course, we’re dealing with a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ here, but wouldn’t you like to see Pep Guardiola try his hand in the Premier League some day?
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