Pep Guardiola has been confirmed as the next head coach of Manchester City, having signed a three-year contract which begins on 1 July.
It would appear that such an appointment has been in the making for some time at the Etihad Stadium, with the club’s owners working hard behind the scenes for some time to lure the Spaniard. Guardiola’s former Barcelona aides Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano are already at the club, and now the final piece of the jigsaw will be in place from next season onwards.
The 45-year-old announced earlier this season that he would quit Bayern Munich when his contract expires in the summer, and he has made no secret of his desire to coach in England. Although Chelsea, Manchester United and possibly Arsenal were all potential destinations, City were always the frontrunners and have confirmed Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini.
An official club statement on Monday read: “Manchester City can confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalised contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC Head Coach for the 2016/17 EPL season onwards. The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012.
“Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the Club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation. Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club.”
For Pellegrini, he now has the chance to add to the Premier League title and League Cup which he won in his first season with the Blues. He has already led his side to the final of the latter, and they are well placed in the race for the title. City are also in the last 16 of both the FA Cup, where they travel to Chelsea, and the UEFA Champions League where Dynamo Kiev await.
“I signed for one more year but with the clause that the club or me can choose not to use that now,” said Pellegrini on Monday. “So I finish here 30 June, so there is not the speculation. The club are not doing anything behind me, I knew this one month ago, but I don’t think it’s good to have rumour or speculation about these things, which I why I have told the players and the press.”
During his time in charge of Barcelona, Guardiola led the Camp Nou giants to 14 trophies, including three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues and two Copa del Rey’s. Since taking the reigns at Bayern in the summer of 2013 he has delivered two Bundesliga titles and one DFB-Pokal Cup, further cementing his reputation as perhaps the finest coach in European football.