Pep Guardiola: Arsenal manager - how does that sound?
When Manchester City announced the Spaniard would be taking over from Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season, their Premier League rivals must have been looking at them with envy.
Manchester United are reportedly on the lookout for Louis van Gaal's replacement, whilst Chelsea are due to bring in someone new this summer when Guus Hiddink's tenure as interim manager expires.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
But what about Arsenal? It’s been nearly 20 years since Arsene Wenger arrived in north London and will (surely?) be approaching the end of his tenure at the Emirates.
The Frenchman’s contract doesn't expire until 2017, though, so it would have come as a surprise if the Arsenal board had jumped the gun and snatched the two-time Champions League winner from under City’s noses.
But what if they had? And would it have worked out? Here's why Arsenal have potentially missed out on his signing, or perhaps dodged a bullet.
Guardiola’s record speaks for itself. Ever since taking over as Barcelona manager in 2008, the Spaniard has scooped five league titles, two Champions Leagues and a vast array of cup competitions during his time in Spain and Germany.
One would assume that a seamless transition into English football will now follow for the 45-year-old as he looks to secure a unique trio of European domestic league titles. The Premier League may be regarded as a different beast by many, but it's likely Guardiola will be adding to his trophy haul with the wealth of talent he will inherit at the Etihad.
Much of Guardiola’s success came from his Barcelona side giving birth to the passing phenomenon of tiki-taka - something that the Spain national side carried over to their victorious World Cup campaign in 2010.
Wenger has instilled a similar philosophy at Arsenal, whereby his team’s fast and fluid style has become synonymous with the club. Hiring Pep would not have buried those beliefs and in many ways, he would have been a natural successor to continue and build on the foundations laid by Wenger.
The entire complexion of Arsenal’s transfer policy was altered by the purchase of Mesut Ozil in 2013. Since then, the Gunners have attracted players of the highest calibre in Alexis Sanchez and Petr Cech.
The case remains at the Emirates, though, that with every Ozil comes a Mathieu Flamini; for every Sanchez there is a Yaya Sanogo. While finances have improved in recent years for Arsenal, the added incentive of playing under Guardiola could have brought a new wave of world-class talent to north London.
Furthermore, the Spaniard could have brought along one - if not more - of his Bayern stars with him. After all, he bought Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona not long after arriving in Munich.
Not staying for long?
Guardiola wouldn't have been a long-term prospect for Arsenal, however. The Spaniard took a year-long break after four seasons at the Camp Nou and is set to bring his Bayern career to an end after just three more.
It could well be the case that after one or two years at City, Guardiola will be looking for his next challenge, rendering his legacy short-lived - something Arsenal wouldn't favour.
United have struggled ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager, and the same could well have happened to the Gunners had they replaced Wenger with a manager only expected to stay for a couple of years.
No league like the Premier League
Ah, the Premier League - the 'best league in the world'; a competition where anyone can beat anyone and thanks to an untimely demonstration from Leicester City, anyone can even win it.
So to come from leagues where a wealthy duopoly - or in Bayern’s case, monopoly - dominates the competition year in, year out to the mayhem of this enigmatic division in England will take some getting used to for Guardiola.
That's not to say he will be unsuccessful at his first shot in England, but look where the likes of Mourinho are now - jobless. A champion one minute, irrelevant the next. That’s normal over here - and he’d better prepare for it.
So, have Arsenal dodged a bullet? Or have they missed a trick by standing still? The board will surely be keen to maintain Wenger’s philosophies and they do not come more purpose-built than Guardiola in that respect.
But it might have lacked common sense to simply ditch such a visionary as Wenger, especially as the squad continues to move in the right direction in the shape of two recent major trophies.
And with the Frenchman potentially on the brink of delivering a fourth Premier League title, why the need for change?
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms