It’s official. After months of speculation and media hype Manchester City today announced that current Bayern Munich manager, Pep Guardiola, was set to join the Manchester outfit at the end of the season. The Spaniard is set for a 3-year-deal in the North-West and will join up with the Blues next summer.
The Blues’ current manager, Manuel Pellegrini, announced at the end of his press conference that he would be leaving in June and had known about the news of Guardiola’s arrival for a month. The relationship between City chairman, Khaldoon, and the Chilean is meant to be healthy and the news was broken to an amicable response from Pellegrini, reports explain.
For City, the club will be delighted to have got this out-of-the-way; as the club have been courting the ex-Barca manager since 2012, and came close to securing him that year, before he decided to take a sabbatical instead. For City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, a friend of Guardiola’s, the news can’t have come quick enough – especially with the work that has gone into the club to lure in the 45-year-old. From academy level upwards, the club has been tailored for his liking. The investment into a state-of-the-art training ground (The CFA), to suit Pep’s idiosyncratic outlook to facilities and workspace – to the way the U14’s line up, the club has been made to Pep’s liking.
Now that Guardiola is signed and sealed, everything can come into fruition for the two-time Premier League winners. The next few years in the history of Manchester City are huge. In Europe, under Pep, City will look to go further than they’ve ever been before. In the transfer market, City will hope to draw in some of the biggest names in world football and domestically they will look to dominate a league which is there for the taking, with clubs like Manchester United on a downward trend.
For City fans, this was the best news possible on a transfer deadline-day that was set to be rather barren for the Citizens. What City fans will have to do, though, is tip their hats or raise a toast to a coach that has gone through this whole debacle with grace and dignity, not once letting it affect his professional integrity or management of the squad. Manuel Pellegrini, ladies and gentlemen.
City fans will have to ready themselves for marked differences between both coaches. Pellegrini, mostly quiet and reserved, will contrast greatly with the outspoken and passionate Guardiola. Expect interesting press conferences (!) and touch-line antics À la Jurgen Klopp. Most importantly, a style of play will be implemented that Guardiola’s sides are trademarked for. Possession, passing, keep-ball, tikki-takka…you name it. City’s attacking, firebrand, counter-attacking style, seen under Pellegrini, will be put to bed for something far classier. Here’s to hoping it pays dividends on the pitch.
As for the rest of the season, despite a tricky draw away to Chelsea in the FA Cup. City still have very realistic chances of a highly successful season. They find themselves in the FA Cup fifth round, the final of the League Cup, up against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League round of 32 and well in the Premier League title-race. Pellegrini will want to end what has been a mainly successful tenure at the club with at least a couple of trophies. Lets hope he gets the send-off he deserves. Gracias Manuel and Ola Pep.