I am going to bookmark this piece with the fact that, for all intents and purpose, the deal bringing Pep Guardiola to Manchester City was arranged a reasonable while ago. My previous piece speculating where he could go mentioned that City was his most likely destination and in the end, it seems like no one else stood a chance.
In many ways, from a completely objective and unbiased point of view, the blue side of Manchester was on paper the best choice he could make. They’ve been desperate to secure his services since 2012, as detailed in yesterday’s press release and have essentially been setting up the club ready for his potential arrival in the future.
They brought in the likes of Txiki Begiristain, they poured a lot of money into improving the academy to the point of being some of the best facilities not just in England but in all of Europe. That’s even without the well established squad full of international footballers, a slowly growing reputation across the globe and the financial clout to compete with anyone in the transfer market for the very best player.
Transfers will be his first port of call and while there will be some crazy names linked with the club, it’s more likely to be realistic. He may target some interesting young talent in England, be on guard Tottenham fans, and while there will be huge Lionel Messi and Neymar rumours, they are enormously unlikely because of their price tags.
As for people leaving, he’ll gleefully clear some of the deadwood and some will simply not fit his style. Yaya Toure is almost guaranteed to go, Wilfred Bony is another likely to find the exit but expect a few surprises, he may get something extra out of Fabien Delph.
His tactical style will be a little different to what some are used to, he does have a possesion based style but the high pressing essentially keeps the ball in the opponents’ half and causes swift but short counters. It’s something City have looked to copy in the past but to get the man that will help them cleverly break down teams that sit back should give them an extra couple of wins a year at least.
The club really hope he brings the culture of youth to the team and breeds through the next level of world class talent rather than purchasing them from others. They hope that the next Class of ’92 or much like the conveyor belt at La Masia, they can grow on their own and sustain success with extra players from the transfer windows.
Pep calling this a great challenge is a bit of an odd statement, he literally couldn’t ask for better circumstances to be successful. However, others have blown it at big clubs and with his kind of record and respect, there should be no doubt that he can bring them silverware.
City believe Pep is the final piece to their puzzle, that he will not only bring success but bring the culture to the club that should set them in good stead once he leaves. The Spaniard has guaranteed that everywhere he’s been, to go to England and really put a club on the world map permanently might be his greatest achievement yet.