Guardiola wants to manage a Premier League club

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol  - Liga BBVA

Getty

Pep Guardiola has set out why he wants to manage in the Premier League after returning from his sabbatical next season, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all monitoring his position and the former Barcelona coach speaking publicly for the first time about what attracts him to English football.

“I’ve always found English football very fascinating, for the environment, the crowd and the supporters,” Guardiola said. “In Italy, Latin people will support you when you are playing and when you lose, they kill you. In England I’m always surprised that people always support everything and that is nice. That’s why, maybe, I hope to have the challenge or the opportunity to train there.

“As a player, I couldn’t realise my dream to play there. But I hope in the future I have a challenge to be a coach or a manager there and feel the experience of all the coaches and players that have been there. It is unique, to play in that league. The support is amazing. I want to feel the supporters, the environment, the media and the style of the players and everything. I am still young, just 41, so I hope in the future I could be able to train there and enjoy that.”

Guardiola was speaking ahead of the FA’s 150th anniversary commemorations in London on Wednesday, fully aware of the interest in him from the Premier League’s first-, second- and third-placed clubs and only 24 hours after José Mourinho’s confirmation that he, too, sees working in England as his future.

Roman Abramovich has made it a near-obsession to bring Guardiola to Chelsea, pointedly handing Rafael Benítez the title of “interim manager” after giving him a contract to the end of the season in place of Roberto Di Matteo. United, meanwhile, have Guardiola at the top of their wish-list to replace Sir Alex Ferguson when the long-serving manager retires, and there is also the possibility that the regime at City will try to bring him in at the end of the season, at the expense of Roberto Mancini.

Ferran Soriano, City’s chief executive, and his right-hand man, the director of football, Txiki Begiristain, were at Camp Nou with Guardiola and, if the Catalan club are to be believed, seem determined to bring together more former Barcelona employees to help City’s transition under the wealth of Abu Dhabi’s royal family.

He, like Mourinho, has sent the FA a good-luck message ahead of the anniversary, speaking at length about his fondness for the nation that “created the rules of football” and has “been important in the development of our beautiful, beautiful game.”

One of the reasons, he said, was his experiences of the old and new Wembley stadiums, winning the European Cup as a 21-year-old for Barcelona in 1992 and then, as manager, guiding the club to the 2011 Champions League at United’s expense. “I am a lucky guy because I had the opportunity to play two finals, both in England at Wembley, and that’s why my relationship with England is pretty close,” he said.

Read about Pep’s infatuation with English football at The Guardian. Meanwhile, Goal.com’s Greg Stobart has compiled a special report on the race between Europe’s top clubs to sign Guardiola, excerpted below.

Guardiola’s focus when he takes on his next role will be on the project rather than any concerns about salary, while he has expressed his desire to experience a different league and culture following his success in Spain.

Bayern are certainly the bookmakers’ favourites to land Guardiola and tick many of the boxes. For a start, they are a club with tremendous history, huge ambition and are guaranteed to compete for titles and trophies.

The odds of Guardiola taking the plunge and swapping La Liga for the Bundesliga plumeted on Tuesday, despite Bayern dismissing speculation that a deal had already been put in place and the man himself revealing his desire to test his credentials in England.

Certainly Guardiola is not short of Premier League admirers, with champions Manchester City extremely attracted to the idea of luring the best coach on the market to the Etihad Stadium.

Roberto Mancini signed a five-year contract with City last summer but his long-term future at the club has looked increasingly insecure since the appointment of Ferran Soriano as chief executive and Txiki Begiristain as director of football.

Both of the Spaniards worked closely with Guardiola at Barcelona and he is said to have a particularly tight relationship with Begiristain, who is charged with leading City towards Champions League glory and domestic domination, in addition to ensuring the club comply with Uefa’s financial fair play regulations.

City are not, however, the only English powerhouse to be in the market for Guardiola. Roman Abramovich has twice offered him the frequently available job as Chelsea manager – first in the summer and again when the Russian billionaire sacked Roberto Di Matteo in November.

Guardiola is tempted by the prospect of taking over at Stamford Bridge and living in London, but he has been put off by Abramovich’s impatience in sacking previous bosses, as well as the goldfish bowl nature of managing the Blues.

Then there is the prospect of taking over from long-term incumbents at Arsenal or Manchester United and building on the legacies of Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Goal.com revealed last month that Guardiola had privately expressed a serious interest in becoming the next Arsenal manager should Wenger decide to step aside at the end of the season.

The Frenchman is under more pressure than at any point since taking over in 1996 and would see Guardiola as the perfect man to return the Gunners to former glories. At the Emirates Stadium, he will be guaranteed the time to build something special at a well-run club, whose basic football philosophy matches the style Guardiola implemented at Barcelona.

Sir Alex has also mentioned Guardiola and Jose Mourinho by name as two possible replacements when he finally decides to end his time in charge at Old Trafford. There have been growing whispers this season that the Scot may call it a day in the summer and the 71-year-old is obsessed with ensuring a smooth transition when he retires as manager.

Guardiola and Sir Alex spent time together in New York during the international break in September and the Spaniard has the skill, respect and pedigree to take on the challenge.

The Scot and Wenger will have the major say when it comes to deciding their successor and the timing of their retirement will be pivotal as both men will want to hand over to their top choice. With Guardiola in the market for a job and Mourinho also possibly available, it could be a seismic summer for English football.

Guardiola and his representatives will fully assess the options before making a final decision, and much could change in the coming months to alter his thinking. Yet whatever develops, he will be back in the dugout next season – and there are executives all over Europe who want to make sure it is at their club.

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments on “Guardiola wants to manage a Premier League club”

  1. sam January 17, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    he is already decided to manage FC Bayern Munich.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Guardiola to Munich – Pep decides Bayern is the place to be | TOKNOWTHEGAME.COM - January 17, 2013

    […] after confirming a few weeks ago that he would return to coaching in the summer, and then seemingly implying that he would pick an English Premier League club, Pep’s future has been revealed. As confirmed by the club themselves, Guardiola will join […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: