Pep Guardiola race: Chelsea favourites to land former Barcelona boss

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Pep Guardiola will have the choice of almost every leading club in Europe when he ends his sabbatical, as expected, next summer having established himself as one of the finest managers in history during his stint with Barcelona.

The Catalan won 14 major honours in four years as boss at the Camp Nou, before stepping down from Barcelona duty at the end of last season in order to spend more time with his young family.

But, despite his self-imposed exile in New York, Guardiola is still the most discussed managerial name in football as the rumour mill continues to turn with regards to his next move.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and both Milan clubs have been touted as potential destinations for Guardiola when he returns to the game, but what do the bookmakers say?

GMF takes a closer look…

Chelsea: 2/1 - FAVOURITES

Chelsea had been heavily linked with a move for Guardiola following his departure from Barcelona, but were unable to convince the 41-year-old to reverse his decision to take an extended break.

Roberto di Matteo was given the permanent job on two-year contract after leading Chelsea to the Champions League and FA Cup, but Roman Abramovich is unlikely to display any sentiment if Guardiola shows interest in the position.

The Daily Mail claimed this week that Guardiola would consider moving to Stamford Bridge given the exciting new style being adopted at Chelsea.

Manchester United: 4/1

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has reportedly identified Guardiola as his favoured successor, when the Scot brings an end to his illustrious Old Trafford career.

The 70-year-old celebrates 26 years as Manchester United boss on November 6, and is expected to finally step down when his contract expires in 2014.

Old Trafford is made the joint-second favourite destination for Guardiola, but will Ferguson's delay in retiring mean Manchester United miss out on their top target?



Manchester City: 4/1

The appointment of former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain in the same role at Manchester City has increased speculation that a move for Guardiola is in the pipeline.

Ferran Soriano, the club's new chief executive, also worked closely with Guardiola during his time at the Camp Nou, and the Etihad Stadium perhaps now offers the pulling power it did not boast in the past.

Roberto Mancini has endured a rough time of late following Manchester City's failings in the Champions League, and it emerged last week that the Italian had been in contact with other clubs.

Arsenal: 13/2

The footballing philosophy that has become associated with Arsenal during the tenure of Arsene Wenger will surely appeal to Guardiola more so than any other comparative club in Europe.

Former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez claims Arsenal would be the 'perfect' club for Guardiola to join following his Camp Nou departure, but Wenger will not be leaving any time soon.

Despite a despite another sluggish start to the season, Wenger is highly unlikely to lose his job as Arsenal boss, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis stating the Frenchman is likely to be offered a contract extension.

AC Milan, Inter Milan, Liverpool: 16/1

Despite their stature in Europe, AC Milan and Inter Milan are trailing English clubs in the odds to land Guardiola given the former Spain international's ambition to manage in the Premier League.

It was reported this week that the Premier League would be Guardiola's ideal next move and, should a top job in England become available, Milan and Inter can forget about him moving to the San Siro.

Liverpool are also listed at 16/1, but Fenway Sports Group have maintained they will keep faith in Brendan Rodgers as he looks to build a young, dynamic side that can achieve success in the seasons to come.

Guardiola, for his part, is unlikely to consider a move to Anfield, unless Liverpool can secure a return to the Champions League.

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