The speculation continues to rise around the future of Pep Guardiola, and naturally everyone wants a piece.
After the Bayern Munich manager told the world that he would be stepping down as manager of the Bavarian club at the end of the season, his name was thrown up as a possible candidate to replace any manager under a little bit of pressure at any top club, and even some managers not under pressure.
Naturally enough he’s been touted to replace Jose Mourinho at Chelsea in the long term – at least that’s a job that’s available this summer. It seems fair enough that the rumours would focus on Manchester United too – after all, Louis van Gaal is under mounting pressure, and his style of play installed at Old Trafford does lend itself to Guardiola’s preferred approach, even if the Spanish coach does make it seem much sexier.
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But speculation around Manchester City is greatest, even if Manuel Pellegrini isn’t really in an awful position this season and under normal circumstances, wouldn’t face the sack. But when Pep is available, these are not normal circumstances. Even Arsene Wenger could see himself replaced by the special Catalonian. But, as Jurgen Klopp points out, “’If this rumour is as well-tuned as all the other transfer rumours here then Pep will go somewhere else completely.”
This is modern football. The speculation and the readiness to chop the head off a fairly successful manager at the slightest provocation is rife. That’s just the way it is these days. Money is so important (that’s not a jibe at football as such, money is just that important in our society) and that makes success so important. Clubs need trophies in order to win more trophies and attract the best players.
And Pep Guardiola pretty much guarantees success as a manager. His five league titles out of six entered speaks for itself, but it’s also true that Pep, as a manager, has only ever been knocked out before the semi-final stage in any competition once (an away goals defeat to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey last 16 in 2010).
Clearly Pep is a special coach. Any team would want him, and it looks like every team is going mad to sign a man who isn’t likely to spend more than three years in charge of their club. The longevity of the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger looks like a thing of the past.
But appointing a manager like Guardiola doesn’t simply mean success for three years and then fading into nothing. Barcelona have shown us that life post-Pep can be very rewarding still.
When Guardiola left Barcelona, it was after he realised that his players didn’t need his intense supervision and precision coaching in order to play the type of game that won them every every competition they entered in 2009.
Now that he’s leaving Bayern Munich, it seems that maybe he’s worried that his services are no longer needed. The players are capable of doing it for themselves, and now it’s time for a new challenge.
It might also be a case of throwing his cap over the wall – Bayern have never won the Champions League under Pep, so this is now his last chance and he must make it count. Throwing your cap over the wall means you have to jump over and follow it, he has no choice now.
For a club like Manchester City, bringing Pep into the club would be the best thing they could do. Even though Pellegrini is a wonderful manager, Pep would create the dynasty that City crave.
The set-up of the club is such that the arrival of a manager who is so adept at putting his seal on a club and giving it a footballing identity mean Pep could be creating a squad who can win trophies with ease even after his departure.
The money and the academy situation at City is perfect for Pep, and the arrival of Guardiola would be the icing on the cake. Despite all of the speculation and the clamour, Pep is still one of the best the world has ever seen. And if the world has moved on to a new era of keeping managers only for a few years, then Pep is the ideal man for the new era.