Pep Guardiola is set to take his considerable managerial talents to England. At least we know that much.
Guardiola on Tuesday ended one frenzy of speculation and fueled another when he revealed his reasons for deciding to leave his job as Bayern Munich’s head coach after the 2015-16 season.
“I want to experience a new city and I want to work in England,” Guardiola said at a press conference, according to the BBC. “I have several offers from England but I haven’t signed anything yet.
“I have an opportunity to work in England. I’m at the right age and I feel it is the right move for me.
“That is the reason I have taken this decision.”
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are thought to be in the running for the services of Guardiola, the most in-demand and highly regarded coach in the soccer world. By most accounts, Manchester City leads the race.
Sky Germany reported Tuesday Guardiola has chosen Manchester City, as the presences of two of his former FC Barcelona colleagues at the Premier League club have swayed him to the sky blue side of Manchester.
“We know 100 percent that he will definitely join Manchester City next year, and it make sense,” Sky Germany’s Uli Koehler told Britain’s Sky Sports News HQ.
“His old friends Ferran Soriano (chief executive officer) and Txiki Begiristain (director of football) are there and, I think Manchester City hired them only to get Pep Guardiola one day, and that day will come in the summer. Our sources say he will join Manchester City next year.”
The Sky Germany report reinforces the view of Spanish Radio station Cadena COPE — a reliable source on all things Guardiola — which filed a similar report about his future in mid-December.
But Guardiola has yet to sign a contract.
The Telegraph and other outlets have recently reported the romantic in him is pushing him toward the Manchester United job, should it open next season. Louis van Gaal currently is under intense pressure at Old Trafford, and the chances of the Dutchman continuing next season and beyond appear to be slim.
But some speculate Guardiola would prefer to live and work in London than in north-west England.
Arsene Wenger is trying to guide Arsenal to its first Premier League title since 2004. If the Gunners prevail this season, some believe Wenger, 66, could step aside for Guardiola to assume control at the Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea fired Jose Mourinho last month and replaced him with Guus Hiddink, but the latter is working at Stamford Bridge under an “interim manager” title. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has wanted Guardiola as his team’s coach for at least three years. Abramovich also has enough money and will power to make dreams come true.
Guardiola’s resume includes 14 major trophies in four years as Barcelona’s coach. He has led Bayern Munich to two Bundesliga (German first division) titles and is on course for a third.
A UEFA Champions triumph would serve as Guardiola’s crowning achievement in Germany, but English soccer will inherit him — at a time and place of his choosing.
Thumbnail photo via PeterKneffel/dpa/The Associated Press