It was a sad day in the Red half of Manchester on the 1st of February. No, Marouane Fellaini had not been offered a bumper new contract, nor had Bebe been announced as returning to Manchester United. Instead Pep Guardiola was named as Manchester City’s new manager.
It highlighted that City would no longer be the noisy neighbours, and that United could move into the shadow of the Etihad outfit.
But, will United be kicking themselves over missing out on one of Europe’s top coaches, or will they be better off without him? Well that will all come down to what happens with Louis van Gaal. The Theatre of Dreams has been filling up with dissatisfaction towards the team and towards LVG for a while, so there’s a feeling change is desperately needed.
A number of high profile managers have been liked with the [potential role, with Jose Mourinho looking to be the front-runner. One thing is for certain, though, they are in definite need of change, and if this appointment is not right, then United will fall behind their City rivals.
It’s worth keeping in mind that this will quite simply be Guardiola’s toughest task yet. At Barcelona and Bayern Munich he inherited quality squads, and then was able to lead the teams to glory in some of the least competitive leagues in Europe. In both Spain and Germany in recent years, it has become a two horse race, with Atletico Madrid only breaking that trend in La Liga for one season. But at City, he inherits an ageing team that has lost its fear factor.
Though United’s options aren’t that much better, they have a good squad which can be built upon, and if Mourinho walks out at Old Trafford as manager, then the Red Devils would be in good hands and be able to compete with Guardiola. Mourinho has the Premier League experience, something Pep doesn’t, and has been wanting a move to Manchester United since he knew Sir Alex Ferguson was retiring.
Can City really say that Guardiola will have the same passion towards them that Mourinho has for United? And knowing how he gets bored easily, can Guardiola really be a long term option for City? If it is the Champions League they want, then he can do that, though he hasn’t yet at Bayern. He is only a short term option for the team, but considering that other sides in the Premier League now have lots of money from the new TV deal, City aren’t untouchable.
Guardiola will find it hard to replicate his success, and if Mourinho joins United, United fans won’t live in regret.