Pep Guardiola during Barcelona's elimination from the Champions League by Chelsea

(Pep on hearing the news that Louis Van Gaal had been appointed Manchester United manager!)

So if reports are to be believed Pep Guardiola would rather move to England as manager of Manchester United than Manchester City. Understandable, really.

Without wishing to offend any City fans, United are the size of club that Guardiola has become accustomed to managing. After Barcelona and Bayern, City would be a bit of a downwards step at this stage in their evolution.

In fairness though, City are the kind of challenge which should appeal to many managers. Almost limitless funds with the opportunity to create history at a club who crave the attention afforded to the likes of United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Bear in mind also that Pellegrini, like van Gaal, has a contract running until 2017, although I doubt City would suffer from any pangs of loyalty if Guardiola gave them the slightest indication that his immediate future lay at the Etihad.

So when can you start Mr Guardiola? That is the multi million pounds question! Assuming the reports are true, do United dispense with van Gaal’s services a year early? If they do, it is likely to cost somewhere in the region of £7 million to pay off his contract. Bearing in mind that United threw £15 million straight down the drain when they bought and then sold Angel Di Maria, losing another £7 million will hardly break the bank.

The situation isn’t quite that clear though. Pep Guardiola is an honourable man and would not want to see van Gaal lose his job, particularly not when there is only one year left on his contract. He is more likely to take another sabbatical for a year and then take over at Old Trafford in 2017.

Also, there is the possibility that United could win something. The Premier League is very open, the FA Cup still has to be contested and the Champion’s League is a long shot. It would seem rather heartless if United sacked van Gaal after winning a trophy. They are not, after all, Real Madrid.

If this theory turns into some kind of verbal agreement between United and Guardiola, it would leave City in a bit of a quandary. They have always seemed pretty confident that Guardiola would follow Manuel Pellegrini as City manager. If he doesn’t, who would they turn to? My favourite for that job would become Diego Simeone who is, arguably, the best manager in La Liga at present. They may however, choose to continue with Pellegrini for another year, after all he is used to having somebody outside his office just waiting to take over from him, according to the press.

Not so very long ago, when rumours of Guardiola coming to the Premier League surfaced for the first time this season, the general opinion, admittedly once again in the press, was that he favoured London. The people peddling that argument seem to have gone remarkably quiet.

I did write an article around that time, not about Guardiola, questioning what was supposedly so attractive about London and pointing out some fallacies about the place. If anybody wants to read it, it’s here.

At the end of the day Guardiola is in the fortunate position of being able to go, more or less, wherever he wants to go and manage wherever he wants to manage. He will, no doubt, make a decision which will be in the best interests of himself and his family and if England is to be his next destination then one football club, whoever that may be, is going to benefit tremendously.

With Louis van Gaal’s popularity with the fans of Manchester United declining on an almost daily basis, this is something else the board may take into consideration when deciding if Guardiola has to wait another year or not.

It certainly looks as though Ryan Giggs is going to have to wait a while longer to get his chance.

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