This afternoon saw confirmation of the world’s worst footballing secret as outgoing Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola stated his intention to move to England, and the Premier League, once his contract ends with the German champions this summer. The news immediately sent Twitter into a frenzy as the world debated the Spaniards next destination, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and, of course, United the front runners.
With cross-city rivals Manchester City viewed as the early favourites for Guardiola’s signature, Sky Bet make them odds on, it must surely be seen as another gaffe if United were to let this opportunity pass them by once again (remember Guardiola was available at the time of David Moyes’ appointment). Immediately, this comment will draw criticism from some quarters as being negative. In fact, it is quite the opposite, and here’s why:
Whilst many claim that it is the ‘The United Way’ to give managers time to achieve success, it is worth noting that Louis Van Gaal was never in it for the long haul. By his own admission, his intention was, and more than likely still is, to retire at the end of his contract in the summer of 2017. Three years was always going to be the most United were going to get out of their preferred choice to succeed David Moyes.
Cutting short this three year tenure to poach arguably the best club coach in the world cannot, in whichever way one spins it, be viewed upon as negative. Imagine Guardiola in charge of City, or Chelsea, with a blank cheque book at his disposal…scary isn’t it? Now imagine Guardiola in charge of United with that same blank cheque book…get it?
Guardiola is a coach which fits in with the profile of ‘The United Way’. Attacking, exciting football? Check. Promotes and believes in bringing in youth? Check. Proven track record of winning trophies at the highest level? Check.
Yes, Louis Van Gaal at least ticks two of them boxes, but it is plain to see that his best days are now behind him. Let’s think of this from a players perspective for example. Hypothetically, Lionel Messi is available and potentially wanting to join the club but it must be at the expense of a 36-year-old club legend. Would you stick or twist?
Claiming that replacing LVG with Guardiola (who, let’s not forget, has at least shown signs in the past that Old Trafford is one of his favoured future destinations) is not intended to promote any kind of hostility. No, quite the opposite. It is the sensible thing, and the right thing, to do and, if the opportunity is there, it is one that must be grasped with both hands.