14 trophies in four seasons. That’s quite a return on investment for FC Barcelona after appointing the inexperienced Josep Guardiola as manager ahead of the 2008/09 season. Now, just eight seasons later, the Catalonian is the most sought after manager in world football.
Guardiola was wise in choosing Bayern Munich as the second stop in his managerial career. Pep walked into a successful system that had been built and maintained by top managers before him, not to mention the talent on the pitch. The job comes with high expectations, though. Anything less than a Bundesliga and Champions League title will likely be seen as a failure.
So, what’s next? Guardiola recently confirmed his interest to work in England, and anticipation of where he will land grows among fans of world’s most popular league. The links between the manager and Manchester City have existed for quite some time, but Guardiola has made it clear he has yet to sign a contract anywhere.
Here are the Premier League clubs most likely to be in talks with Pep ahead of his big move, and the pros and cons of him joining each this summer:
The Gooners are known for playing beautiful football, giving Guardiola the opportunity to come in and replicate the tiki-taka that made Barcelona untouchable for three seasons.
Arsene Wenger has kept his team competing for trophies amongst heavy criticism for the past few years, and it seems that 2016 is setting up to give the Frenchman his first league title in 12 years. If Wenger wins the title, would it be the perfect time for him to hand Guardiola the reins?
- Tradition of fast, flowing football
- Opportunity to bring trophies to a club that has failed to live up to its ambitions and potential
- A breath of fresh air at the Emirates; Wenger has been in charge for 20 years
- Needs a perfect storm for Wenger to give up the keys
- Club has shown a hesitance to spend big money on players
Roman Abramovich has a tendency for sacking managers prematurely, but that could all change if the Russian puts his dream manager at the helm.
The question is: would Guardiola even consider going to a club where his enemy, Jose Mourinho, has been such a central figure?
- Chelsea have the same star-studded squad that won the league last year
- The excitement Guardiola would bring to the club may give the players the boost they need to get back in top form
- The club’s scores of young talent on loan means the Catalonian has the opportunity to form a team that will dominate for years to come
- The shadow cast by Mourinho is just too much for Abramovich to bury with cash and promises of job security
- It is highly unlikely the Blues will being playing Champions League football next season
City is the club that seems the most likely to snatch up Guardiola. The organization has purposely gone out and recruited former Barca execs, Ferran Soriano (CEO) and Txiki Begiristain (Director of Football).
With Pep in charge, would the club finally usurp its cross-town rival and achieve the dominance that City has only touched the surface of?
- Chance to build a dynasty in world-renowned football city
- Unlimited transfer funds
- Familiar faces from Barcelona (Soriano, Begiristain, Yaya Toure
- Lack of winning history at a club that has only recently started competing at the highest level
- Injury problems for City’s biggest stars that has kept club from consistency
- Opinion that Pep is taking “the easy route” by joining this oil-rich club with recent success, while a giant fades away at Old Trafford
While Manchester City seems the most likely destination and Arsenal is the best like-for-like comparison to the team Guardiola led at Barcelona, neither is a more perfect fit than Manchester United.
In choosing Bayern Munich after his success at the Camp Nou, Guardiola demonstrated two key components that he looked for in his teams: a storied history and world-class youth system. United is in desperate need of reformation and a big name figure to get behind, or else the club risks falling into the mediocrity that Liverpool is only now beginning to climb back from. This would surely be Pep’s greatest challenge yet. Can he cement his name in history alongside legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Matt Busby?
- Success at this struggling super club would earn him the title of best in the game
- United’s long-time propendency for calling up young talent, just as Guardiola did with the all-stars at Barcelona
- The prospect of playing for Guardiola at Old Trafford could entice the world’s elite players
- Club has been in a state of disarray since Sir Alex retired
- Immense pressure and expectations from fans and media
- United is not in the same privileged position that Bayern and Barcelona were in when Guardiola inherited the club
Pep Guardiola's next stop is the Premier League. Where will he land? Where will he fit in best? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
By Cole Kellogg