So it looks as if Pep Guardiola is on his way to City.
Whilst nothing is set in stone, with the Bayern Munich manager making it clear that he would not be remaining at the German club beyond this season, and intimating yesterday that that decision was based purely on the fact that he wants to manage in the Premier League, it seems very likely that Pep is heading to English shores.
In terms of his potential destination, City is not the only option.
Manchester United are thought to be on the lookout for a new manager in the summer to replace Louis van Gaal after a couple of seasons of relative mediocrity under the Dutchman, whilst Chelsea will also be recruiting next May following Jose Mourinho’s departure. Even Arsenal could be a destination for the Spaniard, with Arsene Wenger surely edging ever closer to retirement.
Nevertheless, the word on the street is that Guardiola’s on his way to the Etihad Stadium. The tabloids are awash with stories about the amount of money he’ll have at his disposal, and Pellegrini has as good as come out with the fact that he expects to be shown the door in the summer.
My question is: would this be a good appointment? I’m not so sure.
Don’t get me wrong, Guardiola is clearly a good manager. He did a very good job at Barcelona, and he’s done a good job at Bayern.
But sometimes I feel that we get carried away with our perception of his ability. It’s almost as if we believe he can head into any club and all of a sudden fix all of their problems.
If we examine his career, I don’t believe he’s demonstrated that. Sure, he’s done well, and he’s won a lot; but at the same time, he’s been at two of the best clubs in Europe, and he hasn’t managed anyone else.
It’s absolutely true that when he took the reins at Barcelona, he took their tiki-taka on a stage from where they were under Frank Rijkaard, but in reality, he was inheriting a team that had already recently won the Champions League and La Liga.
When he went to Bayern, the German giants were already European champions, and although he strengthened their performances in the Bundesliga, he is yet to repeat the Champions League-winning exploits of his predecessor Jupp Heynckes, despite having a huge budget at his disposal and a number of World Cup winners in his team.
Now, I must reiterate again that Guardiola is not a bad manager. He’s a good manager. But is he the sort of manager who can take City a stage further and help them to compete in Europe in a way that they haven’t been doing up until now? He might be, but there’s no evidence for it.
Given the way that City dispose of their managers, Guardiola will be expected to perform pretty quickly. And he will also be expected to deliver big things. He could well meet both expectations, but he might not. Hiring Guardiola is not a sure-fire route to the kind of success that the top brass at the club crave – and City should understand that before they hire him and expect him to transform their club overnight.