Pep Guardiola rejected a move to Chelsea before agreeing to become the permanent manager of Bayern Munich in 2013, it has been revealed by author Marti Perarnau, a close confident of the revered former Barcelona coach.
Guardiola met Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in Paris and was offered whatever he wanted to become the Blues' new head coach. The Russian billionaire, like millions around the world, was an admirer of the magnificent football Barcelona were producing on a weekly basis under Guardiola's management and wanted the former Spain international to implement the same style at Stamford Bridge.
Guardiola put off Chelsea job - also met Ferguson
However, Guardiola was reluctant to take the job - perhaps put off by the turnover of managers at Chelsea over the past decade since Abramovich - and opted instead to put in place an agreement with Bayern Munich in January 2013, during his year-long sabbatical away from the game.
Guardiola, who briefly lived in New York following his remarkable four-year spell with Barcelona, also met former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. It's not believed that Ferguson had planned his retirement by that stage, however, and the Red Devils subsequently missed the chance to secure his services.
Guardiola keen on United job
It's been revealed in Perarnau's book, though, that Guardiola would be interested in taking the Manchester United manager's job in the future. Louis van Gaal's contract expires in 2017, by which point the veteran Dutch coach will have turned 66, and it's possible that United may approach the former Barcelona boss with a view to appointing him as Van Gaal's successor.
Chelsea, meanwhile, re-appointed Jose Mourinho - the ex-Real Madrid boss who previously worked alongside Guardiola, but saw his relationship with the Camp Nou legend sour and eventually disintegrate over the course of three hugely eventful seasons - but failed to win a trophy in their first season with the Portuguese coach back at the Bridge.
“I like this atmosphere. I could see myself coaching here one day.” - Pep Guardiola, on his previous visit to Old Trafford.
Guardiola also rejected Man City
Abramovich's decision to re-appoint Mourinho, however, looks set to pay off this season. Chelsea bought well in the summer, got rid of the deadwood and have enjoyed a superb start to the 2014-15 campaign.
After seven matches played of this season's Premier League, Chelsea already possess a five-point gap over current champions Manchester City, who Guardiola also rejected before agreeing to join Bayern Munich.
Txiki Begiristain, Guardiola's aide at Barcelona, attempted to bring him to the Etihad Stadium but was snubbed on that occasion. Manchester City subsequently turned to Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini - a friend of Guardiola's - who won the Premier League title in his first season with the Citizens.