By Rasmus Lukunka
It seems like every other day there’s a tabloid story about where Pep Guadiola will end up in the summer. Chelsea supposedly sacked Roberto Di Matteo in the hope of landing Guadiola in January. Well, that didn’t happen. Then there was a rumor linking Guardiola with United, until the ever green Fergie shut the smack down by revealing his intentions to reign for another couple of seasons – at least.
With the ever increasing dissatisfaction among Arsenal fans highlighted by a recent study showing nearly 50 percent of them are unsatisfied with the job Wenger’s doing. Thus once again Pep has been linked to the Gunners’ hot seat. This season, Man United’s dominance combined with Man City’s severely underperforming millionaires has increased the pressure on Mancini. So guess what? Man City’s in the mix. I wouldn’t expect any different from them though. Add to the equation the two former Barcelona Directors now earning sheik money at the Etihad, the rumors and possibilities are sensible.
So what about Pep, where does he want to go? He has all the options in the world and seems to be enjoying the attention. In addition to the Premier League usual suspects, other mega rich European clubs like PSG and Anzi would love them some Pepy pie. Add German giants Bayern Munich in the fray and the guy has the ability to walk into any job he wants; with the exception of Old Trafford.
Here’s what I have to say to all those glued to the tabloid linking Pep to a big club: success is not guaranteed! Guardiola walked into a Barcelona team that had a souped-up engine ready to go. I give Pep credit for embracing the culture, for allowing the players to express themselves and for keeping all the players focused. However, Frank Rijkaard laid the foundation. Pep found Puyol: captain, Xavi: vice-captain, Valdes: 3rd captain, Iniesta: 4th captain and best player on the planet; Messi at the Camp Nou.
What Pep did well was integrate youth in the side. He brought in players from the Barcelona B team; the likes of Busquets, Thiago, Pedro and former Barca youths Pique and Fabrigas. He also brought in further reinforcements in the form of Alves, Villa, Sanchez and Mascherano. Of the 14 players mentioned above, 10 of them were well integrated into the Barcelona DNA.
Which leads to my simple question: how well can Pep do without an established foundation, without the world’s greatest player and without a phenomenal reserve program; while adapting to a different culture?
I’ll leave you with this; Pep is not the Messiah. To his credit, he was always remained humble and gave the credit to his players. He knows how lucky he was. Based on this, I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed far away from the likes of Man City and Chelsea. Bayern Munich is a team in transition, so he can afford to get his feet wet for a year in Germany. But not in England, the tabloids would eat him alive. Imagine fan reaction and banter following a loss to a Stoke City, a Wigan or a West Ham?
In my opinion, Pep has a lot to think about – if he hasn’t already. He needs to quit flirting and wait for the season to end. It’s obvious which teams can afford him in England, Germany or wherever. He should manage the high expectations now.
Finally, unless he intends to spend an entire summer helping his new players adapt to a Barcelona style of play, he may struggle. Under Pep, Barcelona were 95 percent proficient at their style of play, leaving a versatility capacity of 5 percent. In England especially, you need more than that. Ask Sir Alex.
Bayern Munich has bagged the sought after coach and put an end to the speculation. The former Barcelona coach has signed a three-year deal that runs until 2016.
About the Author: Rasmus Lukunka was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia and has been living in the United States since 1996. He’s been a keen follower of the English Premier League since its inception.Rasmus has been a contributor to OldTrafford.com since November, 2011. He has also worked with several local newspapers and sports affiliate websites to promote the game of Football(Soccer) in the United States.