Bayern Munich have emerged from seemingly nowhere to head the betting to be the next club managed by Pep Guardiola.
The most sought-after coach in European football recently announced his intentions to return from sabbatical in the summer; a move which will have seen the owners of the continent’s biggest clubs diving for their cheque books, with Bayern’s Uli Hoeness looking to have got there first, or so their 5/4 price to land the Spaniard would suggest.
The Bundesliga’s stock is on the up and Bayern’s fierce rivalry with Borussia Dortmund would make for an interesting title tussle that Guardiola could sink his teeth into, while two finals in three years is indicative of the force Munich’s finest are in the Champions League.
Having said all of this, however, any decision to end his footballing hiatus with Bayern would be pretty anticlimactic, especially for those Premier League fans who were harbouring hopes that Guardiola would take the reins at their club.
Neutrals were keen to see the billions of Manchester City and Chelsea in a tug-of-war for the 41-year-old, with the outside possibility that Manchester United may throw their rather large hat into the ring to really crank the temperature up, should Sir Alex Ferguson decide to retire come the season’s end.
It’s by no means a foregone conclusion that the man who won two Champions League and three La Liga titles in four years in charge of Barcelona is heading to the Bundesliga. Therefore, punters who’re convinced he’s coming to England will welcome the rise in odds this Bayern frenzy has brought about for the Premier League sides in the running.
Roman Abramovich has craved the day he pays Guardiola’s lofty salary for years now and came as close as he ever has to getting his man in the previous close season. Following Rafa Benitez’ interim appointment until the end of the current campaign, it appears that the trigger-happy Russian is going to renew his attempts to lure him to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Ladbrokes have the Blues priced up as 7/2 second favourites to be Guardiola’s preferred suitors as a result, though the way Abramovich goes through prestigious managers like they were Bollinger and caviar may well deter him.
Man City should not be ruled out either.
According to the old adage, there’s no smoke without fire. If this is to be believed there has to be some kind of inferno raging at the Etihad, where a thick plume of speculation lingers; it proclaims that this season will be Roberto Mancini’s last in the blue half of Manchester and the powers that be want Guardiola to replace him.
Two former Barca men have arrived in the City boardroom and a price of 6/1 says Guardiola will join them once Mancini has been given the boot. Their oil-rich owners are keen for a man with a glittering Champions League record following the Italian’s failings in this competition and few better suffice this criteria than the Catalunyan coach.
It’s hard to believe that Guardiola would turn his nose up at Man United should they come calling and, should they need a new boss in the summer, a price of 8/1 is available for him to take over at Old Trafford.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date