Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City Or Man Utd: Which Premier League Club Will Pep Guardiola Join?


Not to be outdone by the coronation of Zizou at Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola took back the news on Tuesday as he outlined plans for life after Bayern.

Guardiola wants to coach in the Premier League next season. He desires to "experience the atmosphere in England" (sorry Swansea fans) and already has some offers on the table.

The odds favour Manchester City as the next destination for the 44-year-old Guardiola, but Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are also being reported as potential landing spots.

Here are the arguments for and against joining the four Premier League behemoths who may or may not be lusting after his services.

 

CHELSEA

Chelsea are currently 5.00 with Unibet to go from Jose Mourinho to Guardiola, via the interim services of Guus Hiddink.

When you consider the funds available and the existing squad that would be at his disposal, it's easy to see why Guardiola's head could be turned by this opportunity. From a footballing perspective the Chelsea job opens all kinds of possibilities and would present Guardiola with a chance to start at relatively low expectancy after the disastrous title defence in process.

From a practical perspective, there's obvious appeal and convenience to living in and around London. Whatever we think, these factors do play a role sometimes.

Chelsea FC v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final : News Photo

Issues will be raised however. From a tactical perspective Guardiola would be taking on a Mourinho team drilled for largely reactive football, whereas Guardiola's proactive style is possession driven. That's quite the turnaround, though with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard in your number there's an argument this could be achieved quickly. Maybe Guardiola's style is what the players wanted all along.

But there's also the very real possibility Chelsea won't be in the Champions League next season. Would Guardiola really want to miss out at this point in his career?

The other major considerations would be Guardiola accepting Chelsea's path to this point - built largely on buying players rather than developing them - and factoring in the influence and impatience of Roman Abramovich. It's no secret that Abramovich is man who's not fond of releasing control.

Would Guardiola get to run the whole show? You'd have to imagine those would be his terms.

 

ARSENAL

Arsenal is the least likely (15.00), but most romantic of the four propositions here. Should Arsene Wenger decide to move on at the end of the season, which is a long shot at this point, Guardiola would slide in elegantly at a club that already plays to his vision.

Arsenal are a project. They're a thoughtful, artistic entity with rich tradition and all the infrastructure in place for the launch of a dynasty. Of the four clubs mentioned, the Gunners are easily the closest in identity and philosophy to the Barcelona Guardiola fell in love with.

FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH : News Photo

Some are already talking up the notion of Wenger winning a title and walking off into the sunset. If that were to happen, and Guardiola to be installed, Arsenal fans would be unbearable.

Do we really think Wenger will leave though?

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

Guardiola to United is a 5.00 bet right now, which in theory makes it as likely as his going to Chelsea.

United offer something Chelsea can't however. For all their recent success, the Blues still don't have the allure of United, and thus the romantic association Guardiola will feel for the club. United, unlike the other three clubs here, are truly on a par with Barcelona and Bayern in terms of global stature and recognition. Seductive forces could already be at work here.

FBL-EUR-C1-MAN UTD-BAYERN MUNICH : News Photo

Tactically United are a team at sea under Louis van Gaal, with no discernible identity and a spine that needs reinforcing badly. If Guardiola seeks the most challenging project and is looking for the chance to build something entirely in his image, then United could be the job that offers the greatest evolution for him.

That upside is also a downside of course. United are the squad that needs most work. They're the team that would need the most business done over the summer, and that brings with it the risk of a season in flux as new players bed in.

So much work to be done. The question is whether Guardiola can see it all being worthwhile for the ultimate satisfaction of returning a great club to the top of the pile, and doing it in style. There's a legacy to be had, but also a big risk to be taken here.

 

MANCHESTER CITY

The favourites to snag Guardiola at 1.15, City have near unlimited resources and arguably the best coaching facilities in the Premier League. Their hugely impressive academy set-up is primed to bring through a generation of talent, and Guardiola would get to preside over the process if he replaced Manuel Pellegrini at the club.

Also in the pros column is the fact City have the strongest existing squad of the four here. Sergio Aguero is the league's best striker and the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva would perfectly suit the fast, technical game Guardiola likes to employ.

FBL-EUR-C1-MAN CITY-BAYERN MUNICH : News Photo

Wholesale changes are not required at City, merely a few tweaks here and there to give this team Guardiola's identity. And we should also mention the existing relationships he has with Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano, which would make him feel immediately at home. 

If there's an argument against City it's that, to date, they don't have a track record of bringing through their own players. That could all change in the next few years of course, and if Guardiola believes it's possible to blend transfer signings with talent developed by the club, he might see City as the perfect platform for an assault on the established major European forces.

 

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