Premier League / Soccer

The next step for Pep

Last week ESPN reported that Chelsea Football Club have offered former Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola, with an offer of 20 million pounds a year. With this news (Abramovich keen to lure Pep), I’ve come to the conclusion that Chelsea’s wealthy Russian owner, Roman Abramovich, wants to either find someone who will fit well within the club – as Manchester United has done with Sir Alex Ferguson – or he wants to frustrate the faithful Blues followers and the players by having a carousel of managers which makes it harder for the squad to meld playing styles.

Three other European clubs that are added to the whispered list of Guardiola suitors are Manchester City, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich (Bayern, Man City, Chelsea luring tactics). Judging by how (some) English Premier League clubs are (seemingly) run with the pink slips in hand (ahem…Chelsea) just in case a match goes poorly, it would seem that Guardiola would run the opposite way from Chelsea and stroll into a clubhouse that welcomes patience to form the kind of tiki-taka play – and it goes without saying, but the wins –  that Barcelona fans, the board, and the owner, came to expect with Guardiola at the helm of the Blaugrana squad.

It should be said that many question whether Guardiola will be granted the same success if he takes over at another club as he had as manager of Barcelona. Not only had Guardiola grown up within the youth academy system at La Masia, so had many of the players he managed, like those immensely talented players such as Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, and the man of 90 goals in one calendar year (as of 16 Dec.), Lionel Messi. The question of Guardiola’s credibility of managing another team is certainly not a moot point as Graham Ruthven explains (Will Guardiola’s Message Translate Outside Barcelona?).

With that said, if Guardiola were to pick a team to manage, regardless of salary, I’d like to believe that he is a man with a vision and would choose a club that isn’t afraid to grow into a successful (ex. winning the league) squad rather than have to sustain or support the kind of play that may not be currently working. The two teams I think fit that description would be Manchester United or Bayern Munich.

Both the famous British and German outfits are tested clubs that have strong histories but seem to be at a standstill on where to go from here. Ferguson has led United for a little over 26 years while Bayern Munich’s manager, Jupp Heynckes, has only been at the helm for a year. Man U and FC Bayern have many championship titles under their belts, and although that is what a team should strive for, what else is there to do for either team? If Guardiola were to come and manage either storied team, it would shake things up from all perspectives – fans and media, players and coaches – and I don’t think that would be the worst thing in the world. Granted, if Bayern and United continue to play well – do they bring in a new manager? Or, in layman’s terms, if something is not broken, do you fix it?

One thing I do know, once Guardiola comes back from his managerial sabbatical, he will do great things with whatever club he coaches.


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