Pep Guardiola has taken the rather unhelpful step, if you’re a Premier League manager, of announcing the fact he intends to move to the Premier League upon the expiration of his deal with Bayern Munich.
While there are widespread reports the 44-year old legendary Barcelona coach has all but agreed to move to Manchester City, he insists he has not signed anything yet amid a few offers from these shores.
As you might expect, the usual suspects are reported to be in the race to land him. Chelsea have axed his nemesis in Jose Mourinho and are expected to go out all out to appoint his long-term successor in the summer.
Louis van Gaal’s position at Manchester United is teetering on the brink of all out mutiny, leaving the Spaniard with a few options when he eventually makes the move.
Arsenal may be the odd ones out in this race, due to the fact they have a manager they are presumably happy with, though it has not ruled them out completely if reports are to be believed.
Considering that, here are FIVE reasons Arsenal really NEED to do everything in their power to get Pep Guardiola…
A fourth Premier League title has so far eluded Arsene Wenger, though his Gunners side lead the way this season. After years of relative mediocrity, the Frenchman finally has a squad worthy of winning the top prize in the country again.
Should he win the league, as many tip him to do, perhaps it would be the perfect end to his reign as manager in North London. At 66 years of age, he surely can’t go on too much longer. The post title winning period is notoriously difficult, as Chelsea and Manchester City have shown us, and long-term planning is required.
Handing over the baton to one of the greatest managers of all time would be an ideal end to his almost 20-year tenure. Hanging up his coat (and zip) on the back a title win, after the heroic work performed to keep them competitive amid their move from Highbury, is perhaps the best way to end what must be one of the most amazing tenures in English football.
Why wait a couple of years? Why risk having to end it on a sour note?
While Wenger has been revolutionary for Arsenal, and English football in general, he has struggled in the Champions League. Though he a wonderful record of qualifying for it, as well as making it out of the group stage, the Frenchman has reached just one final in his near enough two decades at the club.
Granted, the stadium move pretty much halfway into his tenure didn’t help matters. Still, a club the size of Arsenal really should have won the Champions League by now. As they start to explore huge money signings on a more frequent basis, winning Europe’s elite competition must surely become a realistic aim.
Guardiola has been hugely successful in the competition, winning it twice with Barcelona and reaching the semi-finals with Bayern in both years he’s been there. Few would write his Munich side off in this year’s tournament either.
The Spaniard is THE ideal man to task with winning the Gunners their first ever Champions League, surely the next step in their project.
The departure of Wenger’s old rival Sir Alex Ferguson sparked an unmitigated disaster at Manchester United. Those behind the scenes, and Wenger himself, must learn from that and do their best to avoid appointing an equivalent to David Moyes.
Guardiola brings a project to whatever club he is at. While it tends to be much shorter than Wenger’s, it is a highly complex plan that will no doubt serve the club well long after he departs. It’s doubtful that Moyes ever had a project in place when he took over at the Theatre of Dreams, something Arsenal simply cannot risk.
Obviously, Wenger’s succession is bound to be a tricky period for the club. No side with the same manager for that long can simply move on at the flick of a switch. However, there is simply no one better equipped to navigate such transition than the Spaniard.
The work he has done since replacing Jupp Heynckes probably doesn’t get the credit it deserves due to the fact he is yet to win the Champions League, as his predecessor had. The German giants are so much more evolved now thanks to his good work, taking a treble winning side and somehow making them even better.
It’s unfair to judge three years of intense reshaping over the course of four knockout games, especially considering the drama that surrounds the latter stage of the Champions League.
The levels he could potentially take this Arsenal side to are hugely exciting.
Talents such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and now Hector Bellerin testify just how much of a master Wenger is at nurturing young talent. For big clubs, considering FFP restrictions, a look to the future is one of the most crucial aspects required in a manager.
The Gunners have a fine history of bringing through young players, as does Guardiola. Always as likely to blood a youngster as he is to field an established first-teamer, the Gunners would be getting rewards to reap in the future, as well as on field success right now.
Considering the amount of money the club have pumped into their development program, they need a boss who works with young talent. Many don’t, Jose Mourinho being the prime example, but that simply isn’t the way Arsenal are run.
We can wax lyrical about just what Guardiola can do off the field, for the club in a wider sense, but the fact is, the man just fits the Arsenal philosophy.
The Gunners are probably the closest thing to Barcelona as you can get in England, having an onus on young talent and attacking football.
He reportedly told Chelsea he would consider taking the job should they sign 10 new players in order to change their style of play. So clearly, he values the philosophy and ethics of a side above all else.
That’s certainly good news for Arsenal. They’re run well, like to play the game in the right way and though they’ve signed Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez for big money in recent times, prefer crafting their own talent.
Sounds like Guardiola down to a tee.