Josep Guardiola is without doubt the most coveted young Manager on the circuit. As a player he was part of the team that won Barcelona’s first European Cup. As a Manager he has been even more successful. He succeeded Frank Rijkaard as first team manager of Barcelona FC in June 2008. Since then he hasn’t looked back.
In his very first season he guided Barcelona to victory in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. The following season he completed the clubs first ever sextuple. Although Mourinho’s Real Madrid are giving Barca a run for their money in La Liga this season, Barcelona appear to be destined for further triumphs. Pep Guardiola seems to have success flowing through his veins.
All of which combines to make him an extremely attractive Managerial prospect for clubs across Europe. Whenever there is speculation regarding Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger’s future with their respective clubs, you can bet that Guardiola’s name is bounded about in the papers as a potential replacement.
Now that Chelsea are shuffling their backroom staff and there is speculation regarding Carlo Ancelotti’s future with the club, Guardiola’s name is foremost amongst the list of possible replacements. The papers are full of speculation, but little in the way of facts. As such, it makes sense to ask: if Guardiola’s future does lie within the Premier League, which club would be best suited for him?
Chelsea have a wonderful side, but it doesn’t exactly play to Guardiola’s strengths as a manager. As Barcelona manager, Pep is used to a fast, free-flowing passing game. Whilst Chelsea are capable of dominating a game in this manner, they are better known for being direct, clinical and defensively astute. There’s no doubt that Guardiola could do a job with Chelsea if he were brought in, but it’s my opinion that his tactical nous would be better utilised at a club like Manchester United or Arsenal, where there is already an emphasis placed upon free-flowing attacking football.
Nowhere is this attacking philosophy better exemplified than at Arsenal. Barcelona and Arsenal are considered by many to be the two best passing sides in Europe. Manchester United aren’t far behind and certainly share an attacking mentality, but Arsene Wenger has a real penchant for developing intelligent, creative and resourceful attacking players. Unfortunately, in recent years The Gunner’s attacking spirit has come at the expense of a certain degree of defensive prowess. Not a criticism you could really level at United.
Barcelona’s defence over the last couple of seasons has looked shaky, but has not cost Guardiola any success. If he were to take the reins at Arsenal after Wenger’s stay is complete, could he build upon the attacking foundations that are already in place and take this side onto victory?
His record with Barcelona suggests that he’s more than capable of achieving wherever he ends up. If he wants a club with a similar mentality to Barcelona, he’d do no better than looking towards the red half of North London.