Where will Guardiola end up?
Published: 17.12.12 / Written by: David Gold
The race for Pep Guardiola is intensifying, if reports in France are to be believed.
Paris St Germain are looking at trying to replace Carlo Ancelotti, according to reports in L’Equipe, and the suggestions are that he will be replaced by either Guardiola or Jose Mourinho.
Guardiola has close links with Qatar after helping with their successful bid to host the World Cup in 2022. He also played in Qatar at the end of his career on the field, and so he has a genuine link with the Qatari owners of the Parisians.
But the French side are not the only side after the former midfield maestro. The world knows of Chelsea’s, or more pertinently, Roman Abramovich’s desire to bring Guardiola to West London. He is seen as a holy grail of sorts, a coach who they believe will bring the club to the level which the Russian oligarch has been dreaming since he took over as their owner back in 2003.
Guardiola has rebuffed attempts to get him to cut short the sabbatical he took when leaving Barcelona at the end of last season. Similarly, AC Milan have been linked with him, Silvio Berlusconi going further even than Abramovich, and not only publicly declaring his desire to bring Guardiola to the city, but even whilst his present coach, Massimo Allegri, remains in situ.
Others court Guardiola. It is hard to imagine him succeeding Mourinho at Real Madrid at the season’s end, but one could well see him at Old Trafford taking over when Sir Alex Ferguson eventually steps aside. The Manchester United boss will retire one day, and when he does, Guardiola will be a front runner. At Manchester City, they have even recruited Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain ,two of the key allies of Guardiola during his time at Barcelona. That can be seen as the Premier League champions shaping up for the post Roberto Mancini era, and there will be few guesses as to their preferred candidate for the post.
Further south, back in London, and Arsenal may well be eyeing up Pep if Arsene Wenger ends up leaving the club at the season’s end. The Frenchman, like Ferguson, will not go on forever, and if Arsenal were to fail to reach the Champions League his future would be in doubt. If he decided to leave and step aside, Guardiola would be an ideal replacement. There is also Bayern Munich, who may not have Jupp Heynckes at the helm at the season’s end, and for whom Guardiola would be an ideal replacement, and then the wealthy Russian clubs such as Zenit St Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkala.
There is a large queue forming for Guardiola. He will not lack options when he does finally return to the game. But the battle for his signature will be harder fought than for any player moving clubs this summer.