The Pep Guardiola stakes are getting very serious.
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Various reports claim the this week the current Bayern Munich manager is set to announce he will leave the German champions when his contract expires at the end of this season, which will send some of the Premier League’s biggest teams into a frenzy.
With Manchester City linked with a move for Guardiola for many years, they seem the most likely destination, however given the issues at both Chelsea and Manchester United, Guardiola is a man in demand.
Following Chelsea’s decision to fire Jose Mourinho on Thursday, they could make an even bigger play to go for Pep now or in the summer.
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Let’s take a look at which PL club would suit Pep best if he decides to take his talents to England.
The frontrunners for Guardiola, City’s endless resources mean the former Barcelona boss will be able to totally revamp City’s squad if he so chooses. The fact that two of City’s influential directors, Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano, are both from Barcelona and worked closely with Pep during his time at the Nou Camp means his ideology can be easily spread throughout the club. Guardiola would almost be the final piece in a painstakingly assembled jigsaw puzzle. The players are there. The stadium and resources are there. Now — despite Manuel Pellegrini delivering a PL title, a League Cup and guiding City to three-straight last 16 appearances in the UEFA Champions League — a manager of Guardiola’s caliber would mesh everything together. Expect City to throw an open check book at Guardiola when it becomes clear he’s leaving Bayern.
Guardiola-ness rating: 9/10
With Louis van Gaal’s team struggling to provide entertainment and goals, the Old Trafford faithful are losing faith in the Dutchman’s philosophy. Despite returning United back to the top four in his first season in charge LVG’s side were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the group stage and many believe most of the $400 million he has spent on new signings has been wasted. With Guardiola you can expect a similar possession based style but it is possession with a perhaps. United clearly have players who can keep the ball. Now installing a manager whose philosophy is more direct and attack-minded could take it to the next level with his reputation also able to attract the best talents on the planet to arrive at United. A Manchester battle for Pep will almost certainly arrive with van Gaal’s contract up in 2017, but he has already intimated that he could leave earlier than that if his players don’t buy into his philosophy. Right now, they aren’t and a change of manager is what most of the United faithful are screaming out for.
Guardiola-ness rating: 7/10
We all know about Chelsea’s problems this season as the Blues are currently in a relegation battle and without a manager after Jose Mourinho was fired. Sure, Chelsea probably won’t go down, but the reigning PL champs are in a rut with Mourinho gone. With Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich deciding to cut ties with Mourinho, handing Guardiola the keys to his prized possession would be a wise move. Again, Chelsea have the ways and means to scrap their current squad and start a fresh which is perhaps the best option at this point. Chelsea would have the edge if Guardiola decides he wants to live in London over Manchester, which is a decision that has swayed the minds of many players and managers in the past. Like Man City and Man United, everything else is in place at the club but having a manager with fresh ideas and the ability to attract some of the best players in the world is what will really knit everything together.
Guardiola-ness rating: 8/10