As the news filtered through that Pep Guardiola will be Manchester City manager next season, the outrage amongst Manchester United fans reached boiling point.
How have the noisy neighbours managed to snare Europe’s best manager? Why despite results worsening, is Louis van Gaal still in charge? How can England’s most successful club lose out on football’s biggest names time and time again?
Guardiola’s appointment is something that will hurt United fans. And it serves to confirm the inevitable – that the club are falling behind City both on and off the football pitch.
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Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, United supporters have crowed for a superstar manager to take them back to the top after difficult seasons under David Moyes and Van Gaal.
Guardiola appeared to fit that description. Silverware galore won at Barcelona and Bayern Munich has been done so with panache, style and substance. As United continue to struggle, Guardiola’s name continues to grow in stature.
The Spaniard is still chasing a Champions League title with Bayern but will no doubt be plotting a way to win the Premier League title at the first time of asking. With the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva at his disposal, he will fancy his chances.
City are already one of the leading forces in the country with Manuel Pellegrini often doing little wrong. He has won the league title and the Capital One Cup already, and will have another chance to win the latter when his side meet Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the final at Wembley later this month.
The days where United ruled the roost are over, and there is a genuine worry that the longer Van Gaal remains at the helm, the longer the club’s plight will continue.
Most of the supporters want to do a deal with the devil and appoint Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese was sacked by Chelsea but, with Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and now Guardiola all accounted for, he remains the only big-name manager without a club.
If they stick, rather than twist, then United will probably not have Champions League football to contend with next year. The biggest stage already looks beyond them, and that their rivals look nailed-on to grace it again next term indicates just how City have grown since their takeover in 2008.
Not only have United lost out to City when it comes to Guardiola, but the club are also falling behind their rivals when it comes to their academy.
Despite losing Patrick Vieira to New York City, the Frenchman has left a legacy with young players such as Kelechi Iheanacho and Manu Garcia likely to feature in the first team for years to come.
United are no longer the superpower of old and, unless they can get Mourinho in, then Guardiola’s decision to move to City is one they may struggle to contend with when the Spaniard takes over in the summer.
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