At long last, Manchester City has its man in Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City announced in a statement Monday that Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini as manager after the 2016-17 season. The confirmation of one of soccer’s worst-kept secrets concludes a lengthyÂ chase for Guardiola, widely considered the top coach in the soccer world.
“Manchester City can confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalized contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC Head Coach for the 2016-17 EPL season onwards,” the statement reads.
“The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012.
Guardiola announced in December he’ll step down from his current role as Bayern Munich’s head coach at the end of this season. Rampant speculation over Guardiola’s next move followed his announcement.
Many assumed Manchester City would be Guardiola’s next destination, and his arrival would end Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure in charge at The Etihad Stadium.
Manchester says it announced Guardioal’s hiring now in order to spare Pellegrini from relentless questioning over his own future.
“Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the Club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation,” the statement continued.
“Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the Club.
Guardiola will be tasked with building a soccer brand, which reflects Manchester City’s status as one of the world’s richest and most ambitious clubs. He has three years to do so, but it’s a safe bet to say he won’t need that much time.
Thumbnail photo via Jon Super/The Associated Press