Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola wants to manage Manchester United one day, according to a new book that chronicles his title-winning first season in Germany. The book, entitled Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola’s First Season at Bayern Munich, was penned by the Spaniard’s close friend and journalist Marti Perarnau and in it he claims the manager admitted to being seduced by United in 2011. He went to watch Sir Alex Ferguson’s men and apparently said: “I like this atmosphere. I could see myself coaching here one day.”
The former Barcelona coach took over at the Allianz Arena in 2013-2014 after taking a one-year sabbatical in New York. United wanted him to replace Ferguson but the Spaniard had already agreed to move to the Bundesliga before the Scot announced his decision to retire. Indeed, Ferguson and Guardioa met for dinner in the Big Apple but Guardiola has claimed he was never offered the United job at any point.
United made more overtures toward Guardiola in April following the sacking of David Moyes. However, he said he was committed to Bayern until his contract expires in 2016. Nevertheless, the revelations made in the book will make United sit up and take notice as United will be looking to replace veteran Louis van Gaal – the man who made Guardiola his captain at Barça – when his three-year deal at Old Trafford comes to an end.
Perarnau makes further revelations in his book, including claims that fellow Premier League sides Chelsea and Manchester City tried to lure Guardiola to London and the north-west respectively. Guardiola met up with his ex-Barça colleague Txiki Begiristain, the director of football at Manchester City, as well as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in Paris for talks. However, he instead chose to replace Jupp Heynckes at Bayern. Guardiola is understood to have learned German after a three-month intensive course.
The Spaniard’s next big aim is to win the Champions League at Bayern. He won the cup twice as coach of Barça, both times against United, once in Rome and the other time at Wembley. Last season, his Bayern side were annihilated 4-0 by his old foes Real Madrid in the semi-finals. The Spanish side went on to win their 10th European Cup/Champions League title.
Guardiola is arguably the most coveted manager in world soccer right now and winning the title in his first season in Germany will do his credentials no harm – the fact he has won titles in two different countries will only make him more marketable when his contract at Bayern comes to an end. With more and more top foreign managers flocking to the Premier League, the current Bayern boss would be pitting himself against the biggest names in the game. Although the likes of City and Chelsea will be able to pay Guardiola more than any other clubs in England, the fact the Spaniard is quoted as saying he wants to manage United means the latter will be in the driving seat should he decide to move to the Premier League in 2016 or beyond.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd
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