Pep Guardiola is without doubt the hottest property on the football market.
On the eve of Milan's biggest game of the season so far, their president Silvio Berlusconi took time out to publicly say that they had discussed the idea of replacing current coach Massimiliano Allegri with the suave Spaniard. They even discussed the idea with Allegri. But in my opinion, there should be one club heading the list of possible destinations for Guardiola. Arsenal.
First things first, this is completely wishful, fantastical thinking. But there are parallels between Guardiola's former side FC Barcelona and the Gunners. For one, the philosophy of both clubs.
Both on and off the field, there are similar ideas and values that the clubs share. From the 4-3-3 formation implemented across all levels of the club, to the commitment to play an expansive style of football that both sides hold dear, north London could be a home away from home for Guardiola.
In addition to his fond memories of playing and managing in north London at Wembley, Guardiola could love it with Arsenal.
A key point is the efforts of both clubs to develop players themselves. As evidenced with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs, there is a core of homegrown players coming through, even if they aren't as good as their established Spanish counterparts, barring Wilshere.
Given their age and with time very much on their side, these are young players that Guardiola could manage and mould to fit in with his blueprint of 'total football'. Just imagine Wilshere developed under the tutelage of Guardiola? It's mouth-watering.
On a serious note, being in charge of a club the size of Barcelona took a huge toll on Guardiola's health. The pressure on him to deliver consistently was almost suffocating, and understandably so. His hometown club that he grew up with, captained and was charged with resurrecting after the end of Frank Rijkaard's reign, sucked the life out of him.
With this came the added pressure of his own success. Defending Barcelona from the constant barbs that Jose Mourinho, a former friend, threw his way, took its toll and towards the end of his spell as manager, Guardiola looked a shell of his youthful, buoyant self that started back in 2008.
If he were to manage Arsenal, he could at the least manage the expectations. He wouldn't be so ingrained as part of the fabric of the club like he was at Barcelona, and with the club's recent history, he wouldn't be under pressure to snap up every trophy all the time. Remember, in his last season at Barcelona, his side won four out of six available trophies, and this was considered a disappointment.
Furthermore, Guardiola has a wonderful ability to enchant a room full of hardened journalists. He could massage a room into accepting his viewpoint and alleviating the expectations, but he can also lay down the law and let these same journalists deliver his message, as seen in the infamous press conference where he verbally slapped down Jose Mourinho in his own Madrid press room, letting him know that his sport took place on the pitch and not in front of a microphone.
Finally, Guardiola would have the full, unequivocal backing of the board. There is a lot to be said for feeling secure in your workplace, and perhaps nowhere else could he get the unquestioning support that he would get at the Emirates Stadium.
If he were to go to Manchester United, he would have the history and the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson looming over him. At Chelsea, Roman Abramovich only ever seems one poor run of form away from sacking a manager, while at Manchester City, with the petrol dollars backing the club, anything less than absolute domination probably won't be good enough.
At Arsenal, sometimes you wonder what it would take for a manger to get the sack. Eight years without a trophy and still Arsene Wenger has the board's full support, and this doesn't look like changing any time soon. And if Arsenal's vision of Financial Fair Play is appropriately enforced, the Gunners may be set to explode as a footballing superpower in the coming seasons.
So, hypothetically, Guardiola and Arsenal would be a match absolutely made in heaven. Will it happen? Probably not. But where there's a chance, there's hope.
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