So, Pep Guardiola is finally coming to the Premier League, and who wouldn’t want him! After months of speculation, the Bayern Munich coach has confirmed his intention to make his way to England at the end of the season.
The club fan in this writer would want the former Barcelona coach to join his beloved Manchester United. The fairytale loving football fan would want to see Leicester City defy the odds, win the league, and appoint the best manager in the world to start a revolution of sorts. But the logical part of me knows there is most likely only one destination for him---rivals Manchester City. Such is life.
Unless one actually gets into fact checking and looks it up, it is hard to believe that just a decade ago, Guardiola was towards the end of his playing career with little known Mexican side Dorados---a side he joined despite interest from the likes of Manchester United, Man City and Chelsea. In the time since, the Catalan has won 20 titles as coach (14 with Barcelona, five with Bayern, one with Barcelona B).
He could add to them come the end of the season with Bayern Munich still challenging on all fronts and the Bundesliga title already packed and ready to be shipped to the Allianz Arena in May.
The only gripe I have with Guardiola is that the teams he has managed so far have all more or less already been complete. Teams that already had the right foundation to build on. He just tinkered with sides that were already good enough to win by bringing in a player or two.
This is not to undermine his achievements, but one thing missing from the former Spanish midfielder’s CV is a team that HE built. A team that was truly HIS team. His success with Barcelona was followed by the taking over of a treble-winning Bayern, a team that was already close to perfection under the retiring Jupp Heynckes.
With Man City then, Guardiola would not be straying far from his comfort zone. In taking over a team that already has the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Joe Hart, there is not much to do for the coach but add some much-needed depth and phase out a few ageing legs.
Will he improve the team? Of course, but does current City coach Manuel Pellegrini deserve the sack after all he has achieved? He does not.
Not since the arrival of a fresh-faced Jose Mourinho in 2004 has there been so much anticipation over the arrival of a manager. But as Leicester have shown this season, true entertainment--- entertainment is what the EPL claims it is all about---comes when the unexpected happens. When a Leicester top the table on New Year’s Day or a team like Chelsea get into relegation battle.
The time seems to be perfect for yet another surprise. For a team that doesn’t make up the ‘traditional’ top-four to get a manager who does. For a team like Tottenham or Stoke City or Leicester City---I swear this is not Leicester propaganda---to get a manager who would normally go to Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool.
Guardiola has for long spoken of his admiration for former Man Untied manager Sir Alex Ferguson. A man who in his near 27 years as coach of the Red Devils built team after team to conquer all in England and Europe. For Guardiola, the time to come to the EPL, in his own words, is perfect. Hopefully, the dugout he is in at the beginning of the 2016-17 season, will surprise a few.