Nobody at Manchester City is panicking about Pep Guardiola’s future as manager of the Premier League champions – but it’s accepted it won’t be long before questions start again.
Guardiola, 51, is out of contract in the summer and could leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season with no new terms agreed. City have made no secret of their desire to keep Guardiola, the winner of four Premier League titles and five other major trophies, since his arrival in 2016 but asked in August if this would be his final year at the club, the former Barcelona , could be and the Bayern Munich boss was typically vague.
“I wouldn’t change my life here for a second,” he said. “It’s been seven seasons already. We’ve spoken to the club. Mid-season, at the end of the season we’ll talk again about how we’re feeling and decide what’s best for the club.”
“I’ve said many times that I’d like to stay longer if they want, but at the same time I need to be sure.”
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Ideally, City would like to be able to announce a contract extension with Guardiola during the World Cup break.
Premier League games have been suspended between November 13 and December 26 to accommodate the tournament in Qatar, allowing ample time to finalize negotiations and sign on the dotted line. Confirmation ahead of the Boxing Day restart would end the issue well before Guardiola enters the final six months of his contract, freeing everyone at Etihad to focus on the title race and the corporate end of the Champions League.
But should the matter drag on into the second half of the season, City could do without it. If the players were to return from the World Cup while Guardiola’s future is still up in the air, it would raise inevitable questions about what happens next – for both Guardiola and the club.
The city would need time to look for a new manager. They’re admirers of Julian Nagelsmann’s work with Bayern, former New York boss Patrick Vieira has impressed at Crystal Palace and ex-City captain Vincent Kompany has started well at Burnley – but the appointment of a new manager, whoever it is , is not an easy process.
In his speech over the summer, Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak conceded that Guardiola’s position will always be a topic of conversation – especially when his contract expires.
“Pep has never stayed at a club as long as he has, be it Barcelona or Bayern Munich,” Al Mubarak said during his usual end-of-season address to fans. “The question is perfectly valid. It was perfectly valid last year and three years ago and of course this year too. It’s a partnership that has worked wonders over the years.”
Al Mubarak has been here before. Guardiola entered the final year of his last contract at the start of the 2020/21 season. There was speculation at the time that he was taking a break, having already stayed longer in Manchester than either Barcelona or Munich.
In the end, he stayed with the announcement of a new two-year deal in November 2020. Guardiola cited his relationship with the club as one of the main reasons behind his decision to stay and this will certainly be a major factor again this time around.
“Such support is the best thing a manager can have,” he said two years ago. “I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I’m honored to have the trust of the owner, the chairman, Ferran [Soriano] and Txiki [Begiristain]showed in me that after this season I have two more years to go.”
Thanks in part to his friendship with Soriano and Begiristain, forged during their time together at Barcelona, Guardiola knows he may never have it as good as he did at City. But he is also acutely aware that he is only as good as his players and that his success as a coach requires the squad to constantly back his efforts.
“It’s not the second or third season, it’s been many years and I have to see how the players behave,” Guardiola said in August. “I don’t want to be a problem. Sometimes when you stretch things and you force it, it’s not good, so you have to go through with it and relax.”
“Situations like that happen when it happens naturally. If you force it, it doesn’t go well. We’ll see what happens during the season and how we feel and the best decision for the club will be made.” .”
Bernardo Silva admitted in the summer that working under Guardiola can be “tiring” – but if City’s start to the season is anything then his methods still work.
Additionally, Begiristain has managed to refresh the roster to the point where only four players – Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez – are over 30 years old. 0 wins at Wolves before the international break were just 26 and with the likes of Erling Haaland and Phil Foden nowhere near their peak there is every chance the winning cycle will continue.
Guardiola doesn’t want to stay in charge forever but he has ambitions beyond the Etihad. It’s likely he would take a break after City – to travel, spend time with his family and get better at golf – but after that he hasn’t ruled out taking charge of a national team at a major tournament. However, Khaldoon, Begiristain and Soriano hope he still has the motivation to extend his stay for at least a few more years.
Without a desire to work like Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger in his 60s and 70s, Guardiola’s time on the sidelines will eventually come to an end. However, City hopes they have ensured there is nowhere he would rather be for now.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/manchester-city-engman_city/story/4754579/pep-guardiolas-contract-ends-soon-at-man-city-will-he-stay Pep Guardiola’s contract ends soon at Man City. Will he stay?