Nobody at Manchester Metropolis is panicking about Pep Guardiola’s future as supervisor of the Premier League champions — however there’s an acceptance that it will not be lengthy earlier than the questions begin once more.
Guardiola, 51, is out of contract in the summertime and, with out contemporary phrases being agreed, he might depart the Etihad Stadium on the finish of the season. Metropolis have made no secret of their need to maintain maintain of Guardiola, winner of 4 Premier League titles and 5 different main trophies since he arrived in 2016, however requested in August about whether or not this might be his final 12 months on the membership, the previous Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss was sometimes obscure.
“I would not change my life right here one second,” he stated. “It is seven seasons already. We spoke with the membership. Center of the season, finish of the season, we are going to discuss once more about how we really feel and resolve what’s finest for the membership.”
“I stated many occasions that, if they need it, I would like to remain longer, however on the similar time I’ve to make sure.”
Ideally, Metropolis wish to be ready to announce an extension to Guardiola’s contract through the break for the World Cup.
Premier League fixtures have been suspended between Nov. 13 and Dec. 26 to accommodate the event in Qatar, leaving ample time to conclude negotiations and signal on the dotted line. Affirmation earlier than the restart on Boxing Day would put the problem to mattress nicely earlier than Guardiola enters the final six months of his contract and depart everybody on the Etihad free to give attention to the title race and the enterprise finish of the Champions League.
However ought to the matter start to pull on into the second half of the season, it turns into an issue Metropolis might do with out. If gamers had been to start out getting back from the World Cup with Guardiola’s future nonetheless up within the air, it could invite unavoidable questions on what occurs subsequent — each for Guardiola and the membership.
Metropolis would wish time to seek for a brand new supervisor. They’re admirers of Julian Nagelsmann’s work with Bayern, former New York Metropolis boss Patrick Vieira has impressed at Crystal Palace, and ex-Metropolis captain Vincent Kompany has began nicely at Burnley — however appointing a brand new supervisor, whoever it’s, is just not a simple course of.
Talking in the summertime, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak accepted that Guardiola’s place is at all times going to be a speaking level — significantly when his contract begins to wind down.
“Pep has by no means stayed so long as he is stayed right here with any membership, be it Barcelona or Bayern Munich,” Al Mubarak stated throughout his typical end-of-season tackle to supporters. “The query is completely legitimate. It was completely legitimate final 12 months and three years in the past, and naturally this 12 months. It’s a partnership that has finished wonders through the years.”
Al Mubarak has been right here earlier than. Guardiola entered the ultimate 12 months of his final contract firstly of the 2020-21 season. There was hypothesis on the time he was eager for a relaxation, having already stayed in Manchester longer than he’d managed in Barcelona or Munich.
Ultimately he stayed, with the announcement of a brand new two-year deal made in November 2020. Guardiola cited his relationship with the membership as one of many key causes behind his resolution to remain, and it’ll certainly be an vital issue once more this time round.
“Having that form of help is the very best factor any supervisor can have,” he stated two years in the past. “I’ve all the pieces I might presumably need to do my job nicely and I’m humbled by the arrogance the proprietor, chairman, Ferran [Soriano] and Txiki [Begiristain], have proven in me to proceed for 2 extra years after this season.”
Thanks partially to his friendship with Soriano and Begiristain, cast throughout their time collectively at Barcelona, Guardiola is aware of he could by no means have it nearly as good as he does at Metropolis. However he is additionally acutely conscious that he is solely nearly as good as his gamers and that his success as supervisor requires the squad to repeatedly purchase into what he is making an attempt to do.
“It is not the second or third season, it is a few years already and I’ve to see how the gamers behave,” Guardiola stated in August. “I do not need to be an issue. Generally once you prolong issues and also you pressure it, it is not good so you need to undergo it and calm down.”
“This sort of state of affairs occurs when it will occur in a pure method. In the event you pressure it, it is not going nicely. We’ll see what occurs through the season and the way we really feel and the very best resolution for the membership goes to be taken.”
Bernardo Silva admitted over the summer season that it may be “exhausting” working below Guardiola — but when Metropolis’s begin to the season is something to go by, then his strategies are nonetheless working.
On high of that, Begiristain has managed to refresh the squad to the purpose that solely 4 gamers — Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez — are over 30. The common age of the group picked for the 3-0 win at Wolves earlier than the worldwide break was simply 26, and with gamers like Erling Haaland and Phil Foden not even near their peak, there’s each likelihood that the cycle of success is ready to proceed.
Guardiola would not need to be a supervisor perpetually, however he has ambitions past the Etihad. It is doubtless he would take a break after Metropolis — to journey, spend time together with his household and get higher at golf — however after that, he hasn’t dominated out taking cost of a nationwide group at a serious event. Khaldoon, Begiristain and Soriano, nevertheless, hope he nonetheless has the motivation to increase his keep for at the very least one other couple of years.
With no need to work into his 60s and 70s like Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, Guardiola’s time on the touchline will come to an finish ultimately. Metropolis, although, are hopeful they’ve ensured that, for now, there isn’t any place he’d somewhat be.