Why Pep Guardiola Should Set His Sights on Manchester United, Not Chelsea

Money can by many things and it certainly has for Roman Abramovich. Ironically, all the money he has spent on managers has come at a cost. He will never be able to recruit a manager who demands complete control of a club or one who has ambitions to build for the future. Most importantly, it will be difficult to attract a manager who wants security to complete his vision. In other words, Pep Guardiola will never be the manager at Chelsea.

If all the stories are to be believed, he is the man Abramovich is targeting to be the next permanent manager at Stamford Bridge. Surely Guardiola will have no interest given the club’s recent history of firing managers on a whim. Guardiola walked out of Barcelona to rest and regenerate, and to wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself. That opportunity is not a short stint and a big payday in West London.

There are two positions in the Premier League that would attract the Spaniard; Manchester City and Manchester United. However, with regard to both clubs there is the question of timing. It is hard to imagine Sheikh Mansour firing Roberto Mancini having just extended his contract for 5 years, even with his financial resources. Mansour seems to admire the structure Sir Alex Ferguson created at United, and he is attempting to build a similar dynasty. Moreover, the owner has invested in a plethora of behind the scenes projects and clearly has faith in Mancini to oversee the process. Nevertheless, that could all change if Guardiola indicated a desire to come to the club. In addition, a failure to win the league coupled with further embarrassment in Europe could lead to serious internal inquiries.

With regard to United, Guardiola is unquestionably the preferred man to replace Ferguson. His vision is similar to Ferguson’s in terms of team building and thinking about the long-term. It is evident that Guardiola wants to think in terms of years, not months. The fit is there, but so is Ferguson. Unless this is to be Ferguson’s last year in charge, Guardiola will have to accept a position elsewhere. One wonders if it might be the right time for Ferguson to step down. It could very well be the final season for Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand. If Guardiola wanted the job, Ferguson could step aside with his trusted servants and let him take over. Guardiola would have the opportunity to inject new blood, and take United in a new direction.

This is a very EPL centric view of Guardiola’s options. Other big European clubs, particularly in Italy, will definitely be tabling offers. Chelsea will be among the suitors but for all of their success during the Russian regime there does not seem to be the required philosophical compatibility. Apart from the right fit, timing is everything. Whether that will prohibit the Manchester clubs from signing the greatest free agent manager remains to be seen.

21 thoughts on “Why Pep Guardiola Should Set His Sights on Manchester United, Not Chelsea”

  1. Pep Guardiola is the best coach of this generation, he’s proven that he’s amongst the greats the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Arsenal Wenger of Arsenal. I think he could have taken the Chelsea job but due to this issue of Sacking managers he won’t be able to take the post at Stamford Bridge, however as we said money can buy everything sometimes.We never know what Roman Abramovich can offer the Spaniard and may be talks of a long term contract at the Bridge.But would love seeing him manage one team in the EPL.”

    1. Four years with Barca puts Pep up there with SAF, JM and AW?! I think not.

      Let’s talk about that after he builds his own championship team or takes a so-so team and drags it by the scruff of the neck up the PL ladder.

  2. There is one assumption in this article that while not technically wrong is a pure speculation. What I’m referring to is the assumption that Guardiola’s vision “is similar to Ferguson’s in terms of team building and thinking about the long-term”. There is no evidence to support this assertion. First, Guardiola’s only first team management experience is the four year tenure at Barcelona. While four years seem like a long term in Chelsea’s standards it is rather average for any other club. Secondly, Guardiola didn’t build Barcelona from the ground up – he inherited a very talented core team that won him his titles. Neither did he demonstrate the ability to guide the team through transition from one generation of players to another. Finally, after just one subpar season he caved in under pressure and left the club. This doesn’t strike me as a long term commitment either.

  3. I’ve always thought that the Pep to Chelsea things didn’t make sense. Honestly, why would any manager want that job unless they couldn’t find anything remotely comparable? You know even if you generally win stuff, you’ll get fired at some point…..Pep has no shortage of options that will pay him very well, so he’d surely want to go somewhere that offers more stability.

    But….I wonder if anyone would really want to follow SAF at United. I mean…..that is the definition of a no-win situation. If you don’t win the EPL roughly every other year, folks will call for your head. If I were a big manager like Pep, I’d let someone else go to United, do worse than SAF for a few years, get fired….and THEN show up to be the savior who restores United to its former glory.

  4. Pep is fundamentally incompatible with Chelsea, at least the way it is currently run.

    I don’t know if he will ever work in England but if he does Arsenal is not a bad fit. They haven’t won a trophy in seven years and Wenger’s job has never seriously been in jeopardy. They have an academy that indoctrinates its players in a certain style (which is not analogous to Pep’s Barsa teams but does have some similarities) and even if they fall out of the top 4 this year they are a club of sufficient resources to be competitive. Arsenal wouldn’t be able to offer the salary of Chelsea or City but Pep has left plenty of money on the table already.

    That said I’m still not sure he will work in the prem.

  5. “If all the stories are to be believed, he is the man Abramovich is targeting to be the next permanent manager at Stamford Bridge.”

    Permanent manager at Chelsea? Oh, you’ve got jokes, eh?

  6. All the people supporting Pep miss a point.
    Tito the present Barca manager is currently set to win the title. They are 11 points adrift of Real. They are scoring goals for fun, they are through to the next round of CL. So whats the difference between Pep and Tito. We might as well hire Tito who would charge half the salary that Pep might command.
    And do not forget Pep ahas committed major blunders in the transfer market. And he doesn’t look too good when coming to handling of players ego.

  7. Both Pep and Tito inherited teams that, at the time of them taking over, were in the top 3 teams in the world. This doesn’t show they have the nouse to build an entire team over an over again as SAF has done for nearly 3 decades.
    All things considered though I would probably prefer Pep to take over from Fergie, he is a good manager, not yet great but at United he could become a great. As someone else mentioned though I personally think, if he come to the EPL, Arsenal is the best fit for him and vica-versa so I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns up there.

  8. If you had to replace SAF with someone who is floating around out there then Pep would be the main candidate you could see in terms of having the gravitas to do it.

    But have I missed something about SAF being ready to step down in the immediate future? The guy seems to be going pretty strong right now and, as much as it pains me to say, will probably win the league this season.

    1. I have a feeling that if by some miracle utd wins this years champions league then he might just decide its time to step aside. The final is at wembley stadium and should he lift the trophy fir the third time he could walk away on top, much like he planned to do with his retirement when the final was at hampden park in 06/07.

  9. Imagine what David Moyes could do if he was able to spend money that would be my selection.i know it is not sexy but you can keep your side in the top half of EPL on his shoestring budget.might be worth a look.

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