OK, let’s start with the most important question: Will Pep Guardiola stay or leave? It seems as if this has become the question of every offseason. Expect rumors to start buzzing about Pep possibly heading to Chelsea or Inter Milan. Recently, the Madrid-based newspaper AS reported that Barcelona are looking at replacing Pep with Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa because Pep will be going to England to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Sounds like wishful thinking on behalf of Madridistas and the Madrid media to me.
These are things you should expect to hear, but don’t expect or believe any it will happen. In a recent press conference, Pep said, “People need to be calm about my contract extension; I know what I’m doing. I know when I have to do it and how it needs to be done."
I believe Pep. He finally has the team and the situation that he has always wanted—essentially full control of the team. Expect Pep Guardiola to sign a contract extension in 2012.
One of the other factors contributing to Pep's re-signing is Barcelona club president Sandro Rosell. Rosell was elected in 2010, and since then there have been rumors that Pep and Rosell disagree on many issues. But this past year was an important one for their professional relationship, as Rosell has given in to Pep’s transfer requests, no matter how much they cost the team. Pep is seemingly in charge of the club, which makes staying at Barcelona easier for him.
But why would Rosell let Pep pretty much run the show? In most cases, egos come into play, and Rosell does have a big ego. In a recent interview with Al-Jazeera, this is what Rosell said about Pep and the contract extension:
"We are doing everything possible for Guardiola to continue. For him, the door of our office is always open and the contract is ready.
"He can choose to sign for a year, two, three or four. Or even if he wants, he can sign for one year with an option for another one, or an option for two more.
"The contract is on the table for him to feel happy and comfortable. We hope he will say 'yes' and that he stays with us."
My theory is this: Sandro Rosell does not want to be the club president who loses Pep Guardiola. Who would want to see the best manager of this generation leave? It is the biggest nightmare, because if he does leave it will tarnish Rosell’s legacy as president. Thus, Sandro is doing whatever it takes to avoid having that situation happen. The sad part is that Pep will more than likely leave during Rosell’s presidency, so it’s almost like he’s fighting the inevitable. It will be Rosell’s yearly job to try to keep Pep at Barcelona.
Pep will stay, but who knows for how long. I just know we’ll talk about this again when Bleacher Report does the “10 Things to Expect from Barcelona in 2013.”