Pep Guardiola has attempted to end all speculation over his future, by insisting he will still be in charge of Bayern Munich next season.
The Spaniard won the league and cup double in his debut season at the Allianz Arena last term, and his side retained the title with ease this time round. However, it looks as though their bid to reclaim the UEFA Champions League they won in 2013 looks to be all but over, after they suffered a 3-0 semi-final first leg defeat against his former employers Barcelona last week.
This defeat is one of four successive reverses Bayern have suffered, their worst run of results since 1991. This has added fuel to existing speculation that Guardiola could leave the club in the summer 12 months ahead of schedule, the notion of which first emerged following a bust-up with his medical team which resulted in long-standing club doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt.
It has long been thought that Manchester City, who have Guardiola’s former Barcelona cohorts Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain a the club, are lining up a move for the 44-year-old in the summer if, as expected, they fire Manuel Pellegrini after a disappointing season. It has even been suggested that an agreement has been reached, and an announcement is imminent.
However, speaking ahead of the return clash with Barca this week, Guardiola has dismissed reports he is considering leaving the Allianz Arena before his contract expires in the summer of 2016. He said: “I’ve said 200 million times before, I have another year on my contract. I will be here next year. There’s nothing more to say. Next season I will be here and that’s all there is to it.”
Meanwhile, former Bayern legend Lothar Matthaus has suggested that Guardiola may be losing the faith of some of his players. Although the Bundesliga is in the bag this was never really a doubt, but there was disappointment when Borussia Dortmund eliminated the Bavarian side from the DFB-Pokal at the semi-final, the same stage in which their Champions League dream looks set to crumble.
“Guardiola has already said that their season is over and he’s been rotating his team so much that he’s unsettling the team,” Matthaus told Sky Deutschland. “His team no longer has the stability they had for over eight months, enchanting football fans up and down Germany. It seems the players are losing a bit of belief in the coach, and he hadn’t expected that.”
So is this the end of Pep Guardiola’s link with Manchester City this year, or do you think there is a chance the Blues could still lure the Spaniard?