The top clubs in England have been heavily linked with these two managers for some time now, and it may be inevitable that Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp will manage one of these clubs in the near future.
Arsené Wenger, 65, signed a contract extension last year following the FA cup triumph, but he’s nearing his end at Arsenal after being in charge for 18 years with contract expiration in 2017.
Recently appointed Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was brought in as a short-term solution to clean up after David Moyes and bring them back to the top. His contract expires the same year as Wenger’s meaning that both clubs should brace themselves for the possibility of the two managers retiring.
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In addition, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is under a lot of pressure after failed signings and underachievement, and Klopp was reportedly ready to take over from him this season. Last but not least Manchester City looks ready to replace Manuel Pellegrini after failing in the Champions League and the Premier League, and Guardiola is thought to be the preferred option of the club-owners. Therefore, these clubs may fight for the signatures for two of the best and most sought after managers in the world.
The former Mainz and Dortmund manager has been rumoured to be on his way to the Premier League for quite some time now, but his loyalty and commitment to latest employers Dortmund seemed unbreakable. However, Klopp, 47, is now free to speak to other clubs after quitting Dortmund and deciding to take a short break from football.
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He won the German Bundesliga with Dortmund two times and reached the Champions League final in 2013, losing to Bayern Munich. Klopp spent his entire senior career playing for Mainz making 337 appearances and scoring 52 goals. His ideology is based on direct play, counter attacking and stressing the opposition through a high level of pressing. He also demands a high work rate from his players. After being compared to Arséne Wenger’s patient passing philosophy, he replied: “It’s like an orchestra, but it’s a silent song, yeah? And I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud! I want to have this: ‘Booooom!’
Klopp has previously been linked with all the top clubs in England and is a known admirer of the English league and its fans. He speaks fluent English and would have little trouble settling in. He’s a workaholic keen to see his projects finished and able to work with small budgets. When Dortmund were losing their best players to Europe’s elite, he replaced them and kept the club on top in Germany.
He is a very open-minded and talented motivator and able to get the best out of what he has at his disposal. He won two league titles with Dortmund coming up against powerhouse Bayern Munich; that’s impressive!
Dortmund were struggling last season, and Klopp endured his arguably most difficult season, which saw him step down as manager.
His Dortmund teams have always struggled with injuries, but it still looked as if he was unable to take Dortmund any further, and he seemed like a man running out of ideas. In addition, he stated in an interview from 2014 that he doesn’t see himself staying at another club for many years, which may give some club second thoughts. However, this will depend on his success and relationship with the fans and might not become relevant.
Possible destinations: Arsenal, Man United, Man City, Liverpool
Several clubs around Europe wanted him after his departure with FC Barcelona. Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, 44, now manages Bayern Munich, but he has stated a desire to manage in the Premier League.
As a player, he played 263 games for Barcelona and scored six goals in 11 years. He succeeded Frank Rijkaard as first team manager in 2008 and won 14 trophies during his four years in charge - among them three league titles, two Spanish cups, two Champions League titles and two FIFA Club World Cups. He practises high and aggressive pressing and possession along with counter attacks. Pep recentlycriticised the assumption of his previous Barcelona team practicing an extreme level of tiki-taka.
He said: "Barca didn't do tiki-taka. It's completely made up. Don't believe a word of it. In all team sports, the secret is to overload one side of the pitch so that the opponent must tilt its own defence to cope. You overload on one side and draw them in so that they leave the other side weak.
"And when we've done all that, we attack and score from the other side. That's why you have to pass the ball, but only if you're doing it with a clear intention."
Pep is a very committed manager and a workaholic like Klopp. Before joining Bayern, he took German language lessons a year in advance in order for him to be prepared. He knows his teams inside out; their strengths and limitations.
He’s a top manager with a lot of experience and honours at a young age, and he continues study new ways of improving the outfield play of his teams. He’s a very skilled tactician constantly analysing performances and matches. In addition, Pep wants to develop young talent and give them the chance, which would benefit English football greatly. He also speaks the language fluently. Pep has a phenomenal reputation, and he has the ability to attract players of the highest calibre.
Pep’s demands a lot from himself, the club and the players and is obsessed with perfection. As a result, he has managed to make a few enemies at Bayern, and while some people salute his work, others accuse him of destroying the work of former manager Jupp Heinckes despite winning the Bundesliga twice already.
A thing to consider is that he has only managed top teams in leagues with low competition for the title. In the Premiership, at least four clubs will challenge for the title in a league with maximum intensity and not a single easy game. Another factor will be his durability. He only spent four years with Barcelona and left for another challenge. He signed a three-year deal with Bayern and is believed to be unwilling to extend it any further in order to move on afterwards.
Possible destinations: Man city, Man United, Arsenal
Where they both end up, only time will tell, but it would be interesting to see a rivalry between Guardiola and Klopp resembling that of their time against each other at Bayern Munich and Dortmund