Both Manchester City and United will be casting longing gazes at Pep Guardiola to try and ensure they capture him as their next manager.
The cache of Pep is the ideal image of a manager who is capable of creating beautiful football. Globally Pep probably tops the list of managers wanted by most elite clubs. He is stain free, and the most sought after “brand enhancing” manager a club can get.
Equally with two seasons at Bayern where winning the League is akin to Celtic winning the SPL, I’m sure the competitive nature of the Premier League will prove enticing.
Manchester City under Sheikh Mansour are the epitome of being a brand led club, with the global exposure of Etihad airways the key part of the strategy. Guardiola will bring a specific style of football and a playing style, which hasn’t quite materialised under Pellegrini. Much like FSG have undoubtedly requested under Jurgen Klopp, a playing style and identity to their football will be the key driver in attaining Pep Guardiola’s services.
Equally Manchester United will be tempted, as Alex Ferguson recently disclosed in his BBC documentary Pep was their first choice. However Pep didn’t notify United when he took the Bayern job much to Ferguson’s dismay. Louis Van Gaal has suggested he would look to retire in 2017, and any club of the size and stature of United needs a long term appointment that they can plan around. Jurgen Klopp has said in his interviews that he paid close attention to the Liverpool squad before accepting the challenge at Anfield, and if Pep goes by that parameter one would assume he would choose City.
Arsenal also cannot be ruled out, the availability of Guardiola would no doubt make Ivan Gazidis and Stan Kroenke review their backing of Wenger. Equally given the high regard and great relationship Guardiola and Wenger have, Wenger might step down to allow Guardiola to continue his body of work.
Given Guardiola’s previous choices and comments about prospective clubs(during his sabbatical in New York) stability is the key ingredient for him. That rules Chelsea out to a degree, due to their regular changing of management. London undoubtedly has a far greater attraction than the north west but more likely Arsenal than Chelsea. Both City and United will watch with bated breath the impact of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, the aura and charisma, and the implementation of a defined style of play both City and United are crying out for. The “effect” of Klopp will be closely watched by City, United and Arsenal.
The rate at which Liverpool excel and the impact Jurgen Klopp has at Liverpool might well prompt City, United and Arsenal to act. There are very few “top top top” (as Fergie famously said) managerial candidates out there, and that will ensure Guardiola will start his own version of Premier League musical chairs.
It has taken FSG five years of ownership and many millions of investment to get the manager they wanted and courted over many years.
The presence of the ex-Barcelona pair of chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain will no doubt play a part in trying to entice Pep to Man City. Equally the second largest shareholder in Arsenal, Alistair Usmanov, is increasingly agitating for a change at Arsenal.
Wenger has his detractors but one factor nobody can take away from Wenger is that Arsenal have an unmistaken style of football. United City and Liverpool all hanker to be identified by a style of expansive football that is aesthetically pleasing and Pep Guardiola has proven he can provide it.
Pep strikes me as a person in a similar vein to Jurgen Klopp where he looks for deeper reasons to take a club than mere transfer budget and the current state of affairs in the team. After two years possibly three, (if he continues at Bayern in 2016/17), Pep will look for some stability and that would coincide with Wenger completing his 20th year of management at Arsenal, the significance of the 20th year may well persuade Wenger to step aside for Pep.
As watchers of the Premier League, it will be immensely enthralling to have Mourinho, Van Gaal, Klopp, and either Wenger or Pellegrini competing alongside Pep Guardiola. There is no doubt that would be the creme-de-la-creme of management operating in the Premier League and something to salivate on.