Jose Maria Orobitg who handles the Spanish coach’s business affairs has confirmed that speculation linking the young manager with high profile moves to two Premier League clubs and one Italian club are in fact correct.
“Yes, in Milan as well as Manchester City and Chelsea, and so on. Pep will listen to and evaluate proposals," said the agent.
Guardiola has been in demand since his handing in his resignation at the Nou Camp where he won the La Liga title 6 times, the Copa del Rey twice, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and two UEFA Super Cups as a player.
Upon his promotion from the manager of the youth and reserve ranks at Barcelona B, he took Barcelona to the heights of 3 La Liga titles, 2 Copa del Rey trophies, 2 UEFA Champion’s League titles, and two FIFA Club World Cup titles in just four years.
Now, although technically unemployed, the Spaniard is being courted by a number of Europe’s elite clubs with several prospects for employment emerging on the continent.
In the Premier League he’s been linked with lucrative moves to Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. In Italy he is reported to have taken meetings with AC Milan but is apparently as yet undecided on his destination.
Guardiola is likely to be looking for a long-term move to a club that he can re-shape and make his own. He is understood to be interested in building a team and squad with the Barcelona philosophy of developing players at youth level and promoting from within the ranks.
Despite a poor record in recent seasons and calls for Arsene Wenger to be ‘moved on’ from his post at the Emirates, the North London club’s chairman and new owner are backing the manager.
Roberto Di Matteo has brought in a number of new talents at Chelsea where he won the Champion’s League and FA Cup last season. The recent departure of Didier Drogba along with what looks to be the imminent exits of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, and Flaurent Malouda spells a definitive end of the Mourinho-era at Stamford Bridge – which had lingered since the Real Madrid manager’s departure.
Di Matteo has brought in a number of technically gifted players but will he be the one to guide them to further success in the long-term? If not, Chelsea would present a fantastic opportunity for Guardiola – with the new players and the current youth system, he’d likely feel right at home.
Manchester City, on the other hand, look set to crash out of another Champion’s League this season and, despite winning the Premier League last term, Mancini might find his position in charge at the Etihad increasingly more tenuous.
Guardiola could reshape the club with his own vision and imprint his philosophy on the club who intend to build a number of new facilities in the coming years. If he took charge in the next year he could play architect at the rebirth of the ‘other’ Manchester club.
But, so far AC Milan are the only club understood to have formally met with the manager – and at present they look odds on to seal the deal.
Yet should Mancini and Di Matteo fail to duplicate last year’s successes, you just wonder...
image: © tpower1978