According to reports, Josep Guardiola will leave the Nou Camp at the end of the season. It is believed the he will likely take a year-long break from football before returning to manage at another club. Guardiola will be in high demand in England if he decides to let his Barcelona contract expire. In the past, Pep has spoken of his wish to someday manage in the Premier League. Surely, Chelsea would be the favorites to land the decorated manager, but Guardiola’s possible destinations in England could be elsewhere.
The most likely options include:
Although the Blues have been fantastic since Roberto Di Matteo took charge, owner Roman Abramovich may want a big name with a proven track record. Guardiola has won the Champions League on two occasions in his four-year term with Barcelona. Pep would have the chance to prove his worth as a manager by winning silverware away from Catalonia. Of course, he would also have the benefit of Abramovich’s cash to spend in the transfer market. After Barcelona were eliminated by Chelsea in a Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night, Guardiola may follow the old saying: If you can’t beat them, join them.
However, would Guardiola want to work under such an impatient owner? Abramovich recently tossed away Andre Villas-Boas after less than a full campaign of duty. If Guardiola is overwhelmed with the pressure at Barcelona, perhaps his first job in England should be at a more stable club.
Arsene Wenger’s contract at Arsenal will expire at the end of 2013-2014 campaign. Rumors say that Wenger and his family would like to relocate back to France. Guardiola could be the perfect man to replace Arsenal’s legendary manager. The Gunners’ style of football has often been compared to Barcelona’s tiki-taka. If Arsenal is unable to win a trophy in the next two seasons, Guardiola may want to play the role of savior and lead the London club to a title. The Gunners are a good side with room to improve.
One factor that may count against Arsenal in the mind of Guardiola is the possible budget restrictions at the Emirates Stadium. It is a mystery as to whether the Arsenal board have constrained Arsene Wenger, or if Wenger has placed these financial restraints on himself, or if it is a collaborative effort from the manager and the shareholders. Also, there is the battle of the billionaires. Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s current majority shareholder, has so far kept Alisher Usmanov off of the board, but a messy turn of events could ensue if the richest man in Russia (Usmanov) acquires a few more shares. Guardiola may not want to involve himself in a club with such boardroom intrigue.
If Harry Redknapp departs White Hart Lane to take control of England, Guardiola could become a prime candidate to lead the white half of North London. Spurs has been stuttering recently, and Redknapp’s name has been linked with the England position more than a few times. Tottenham has never won the Premier League title and have only once qualified for the Champions League. Guardiola could turn Tottenham into an elite European club and become a Spurs legend.
On the other hand, managing Tottenham may be the most difficult of the jobs listed in this article. If Spurs do not qualify for next season’s Champions League, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric could need convincing to stay at White Hart Lane. Without the allure of the Champions League, Spurs may have trouble signing top quality footballers because they do not have the same history as a club like Liverpool.
Kenny Dalglish is not the man to lead Liverpool into the future. At only 41-years old, Guardiola could be the manager who restores glory to Anfield. Equipped with considerable resources, John Henry and the Fenway group could appoint Guardiola to rebuild Liverpool into a club that can once again fight for the English championship. If Pep wants a challenge to prove that his can succeed in the Premier League, Liverpool can provide such as task.
The Reds can best be described as a work-in-progress. While their cup adventures have been joyous, their league season has been anything but. Currently sitting at eighth in the table, Liverpool will need a serious renovation to make up for some terrible transfer decisions. Maybe Guardiola does not want to take on such a difficult assignment.
Imagine: Sir Alex retires at the end of next season, and Pep, fresh off his one-year sojourn away from football, picks up right where the greatest manager in English football history left off. As Ferguson’s successor, Guardiola would need to be stellar. His responsibility would be to keep United at the top of the pile, even while plethora of other clubs bite at his heels.
The expectations at Old Trafford may keep Pep away from United. Barcelona and Manchester United are similar clubs in that both count on capturing league titles year after year and competing for European cups.
If City fail to win the league after leading the table for so many weeks, Roberto Mancini may be thrust into the guillotine (figuratively, of course). Instead of replacing Sir Alex, Guardiola would have the opportunity to overtake him from across town. The Abu Dhabi group will surely consider Guardiola’s prior triumphs over United if they begin a search for a new manager. In addition, plenty of cash will be at Guardiola’s fingertips for the construction of a team in his vision.
If City’s owners are willing to dispatch of Mancini for finishing second, then they would surely have grand expectations for Guardiola. Pressure is a very real aspect of football, and maybe Guardiola will want to look elsewhere. In addition, several of City’s employees, such as Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, have shown rebellious tendencies.
As Guardiola explores options for his post-Barcelona managerial career, he will find that all of his potential suitors have their positives and negatives.
Critics say that Guardiola’s success with Barcelona is down to great players and a fantastic youth academy. Even so, one cannot count the number of trophies in his cabinet with two hands. If Pep wants a chance to prove his worth as a manager, he’ll come to the Premier League, where several clubs will be bidding for his services. Guardiola’s decision on which club fits his interests best may shape the Premier League for years to come.