As of this very moment, Manchester City is set to be banned from European competition for two seasons, in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
[ MORE: Man City banned from European action ]
While there still remains a long, winding legal battle to be waged in various courts of appeals, the first question on everyone’s minds once the banned was announced was: Is Pep Guardiola going to leave Man City? For many, it might have even been an assumption that yes, indeed, he would.
The first factor we must consider is this: What are Guardiola’s greatest motivators as a manager? From everything he’s said and we’ve seen during his brilliant managerial career, it would appear that winning trophies ranks at the very top of the list. Namely, it’s the Champions League by which the game’s elite managers are rated.
Without being able to compete in the competition for two seasons — beyond the current expiration date of his contract, in the summer of 2021 — the one trophy which has eluded him in his first three seasons at City, plus his three at Bayern Munich, would be off the table altogether. The wildest of wild cards which could change Guardiola’s entire equation is this: what happens if he guides City to Champions League glory this season, and his highest of high goals has been completed? These are the kinds of questions — so many questions — which will have to be answered over the course of the next six months.
The biggest question of all is this: How will Guardiola’s trust in the club’s owners be affected by this outcome? He has routinely stuck his own neck out on the line in the press, stating he has full confidence and belief in everything told to him by his superiors. If that undying — almost blind — trust has eroded in any way throughout this entire ordeal, it’s very easy to imagine Guardiola making his decision — that City is no longer a tenable working situation for him — an easy one, regardless of the appeal’s outcome.
It’s quite a strange situation — a reversal of roles, if you will — as the manager becomes the one with almost unilateral power to determine the short- and medium-term future of the club’s leadership, while the executives who typically do the hiring and firing — many of whom will perhaps have been at fault in the first place — are left powerless, only to hope and wish that one of the world’s premier managers might stick around and bale them out of a terrible situation.