Manchester United can play it down all they like, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s meeting with Pep Guardiola will set off the rumours about the former Barcelona manager eventually taking over at Old Trafford.
Guardiola has been linked with a number of sides after stepping down from the hot seat at Camp Nou at the end of last season, citing exhaustion as the reason behind him taking a break from top-level football.
The former Spain international has been linked with a number of places other than Old Trafford, so it is safe to say he will have options should he decide to return to the game at any point in the future –what would be the best option?
A number of candidates that have been put forward and Guardiola will need to choose carefully when he decides to return – GMF have weighed up the pros and cons of the various clubs.
Sir Alex Ferguson is approaching his 71st birthday and his retirement is mentioned with increasing frequency these days, so contingency plans are likely to be in place.
There can’t possibly a harder act to follow in the world of football management and perhaps the former Barça captain may be better served than stepping into a post that will have the spectre of Ferguson hanging over it for some time.
Jose Mourinho is another to have been tipped as a possible successor to Ferguson, so there is no doubt the job will go to one of the world’s best. United have the resources in place to accommodate most, but following in the footsteps of such a great man could prove to be difficult and the prospect of being at the helm should any kind of hangover ensue could put some off.
Reports earlier in the summer suggested Blues owner Roman Abramovich was desperate to convince Guardiola to make a u-turn, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to lure him to Stamford Bridge. Roberto di Matteo did remarkable things with Chelsea in cup competitions last year and was rightly rewarded with a permanent contract this summer.
However, Abramovich has always thought big when it comes to managerial appointments and it is easy to see Di Matteo as a man keeping the seat warm for the oligarch’s preferred option.
Chelsea would be an enticing project for Guardiola too, with the nucleus of a young and talented squad being implanted this season. The Blues are going through transition and the famously ‘strong’ dressing room will be a change landscape with the most influential stars gradually edging closer to their time at the top being up.
With many of those club institutions close to moving on, or accepting reduced roles, it would leave a club ready to be moulded to a new vision – add to that almost unlimited resources, and you have an offer that would be difficult to turn down.
This would be a surprising one, though not entirely farfetched. Arsene Wenger is as much an institution at Arsenal as Ferguson is at United, though their successes over the past few years have differed somewhat. This means there would be less pressure on Guardiola should he step into the position after Wenger steps down.
The Gunners’ playing style would suit Guardiola’s own and the transition between his management and that of Wenger, you would think, shouldn’t be too great a leap for the club. Financial constraints are a major issue at the north London club though, and the Spaniard may not be willing to work within the tight boundaries Wenger currently does.
The Frenchman also doesn’t look like leaving the Emirates Stadium in the near future and, with spending resources set to steadily improve over the next two years, you expect him to remain to complete the project he started when they moved away from Highbury.
Germany’s most successful side were another side credited with attempting to persuade Guardiola to delay his sabbatical and the famed club would have a big pull on any man they offer the manager’s post to.
Another side with considerable resources, Bayern could offer Guardiola a significant transfer kitty and the chance to succeed in a league that is gradually becoming the most entertaining in Europe.
The Bavarian side have won the German league more often than any other side, but they are currently playing second fiddle to Borussia Dortmund, who have won the last two Bundesliga titles. After finishing last season empty-handed, Jupp Heynckes is fortunate to still be in a job at a club that sees failure in finishing second, even if they were runners-up in all major competitions they took part in.
Of all the options stated, Chelsea and Bayern seem the more suitable for Guardiola’s comeback, mainly due to the frequency with which managers change at the clubs and the current situations they find themselves in.
Which club do think Pep Guardiola should take over once he comes out of his break? Leave a comment below to let us know…