A big part of football is to speculate about transfer rumors. Even when it’s not the summer or January transfer window; fans and the media can’t stop talking about transfer rumors.
We here at Bleacher Report are guilty of this as well. But hey, it's part of the business, and what makes football great.
But the rumors that may have more merit to talk about than player transfers are managerial changes. They are not transfers, but a coaching change have just as big or even bigger impact than player transfers.
Pep and Mou went at it for two years in La Liga, leading FC Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. Pep left the Camp Nou in the summer to take a break from coaching. Mou is still the man in charge of Los Merengues.
While Mou still has a few years left in his contract, however, his relationship with club officials, his players, and even the Madrid fans is always sketchy to say the least. It's not a guarantee that Jose will manage Madrid next season.
While PSG, Chelsea, and other clubs will try to court both Mou and Pep, there are two teams that arguably have the edge in signing either manager: Manchester United and defending EPL champions Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini led the Sky Blues to its first title in 42 years last season, but after not qualifying for either the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League—not even winning one game—or the Europa League, Mancini may be out of Man City soon.
For over 25 years, Sir Alex Ferguson has lead the Red Devils to many wins and many titles. But now at age 70 and immortalized outside of Old Trafford with a bronze statue, Sir Alex may be ready to call it a managerial career.
With the Manchester Derby upon us, let's take a look at the possibility of having two of the best managers in the world manage in the same city.
It may sound like a far-fetched idea that Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola would both manage in Manchester, but is not as unlikely as you may think.
Many would say the best manager in the world is Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho. “The Special One” has won everywhere he has gone, and his resume speaks for itself.
So why is he being rumored to be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu soon?
Part of it is that many Madridistas never took a liking to Mou. Part of it is an apparent tension with Florentino Perez. A part of it is Mou’s ego.
But hey, if I had Jose’s resume, I’d be pretentious as well. He wins everywhere he goes, and has earned the right to demand more from his club, the club’s leadership, and his players.
Recently, Jose stated he has no plans on leaving Real Madrid. I believe him in that he has no plans to leave Madrid now, teams may have plans to hire him in the summer. And of course Mou will listen to their offers. Like any other manager, if the right deal comes along, Mou will leave.
It truly isn’t a matter of if Mourinho will leave, it’s a matter of when and where will he go.
While no one knows when Mou at Madrid will end, we can speculate on where he will go after his time in Spain.
It’s no secret England is his preferred choice. At a charity event in London in 2011, Jose told The Sun that he’d love to return to English football:
“I miss England and my next job will be in England. There is unfinished business and I think England wants me back, no? It was the most enjoyable time of my career.”
Mourinho seems like he’s not having an enjoyable time currently at Real Madrid. Mou feels the fans don’t support him enough, and his relationship with a few Madrid players—namely Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos—has been sketchy to say the least. A move to England is inevitable.
So which teams would suit Mou the best? There are only two, and they are both in the city of Manchester: Manchester United and Manchester City.
While Mourinho is the perhaps the best active manager in the game, there is one man who you can make the case is the better manager: Pep Guardiola.
The former FC Barcelona manager won 14 titles in just four years with the Blaugrana, and is the mastermind behind the tiki-taka system that we still see Barcelona run under Pep’s understudy, Tito Vilanova.
Pep left last summer to recharge the managerial batteries, and is the biggest name out there if you are looking for a new leader for your club. Rumors have linked Pep with teams like AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain, and of course Chelsea.
While PSG offers a seemingly endless amount of money, and Chelsea has a few players in place (Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar) that Pep Guardiola may see as fitting his system better, Manchester United and Manchester City may be the two teams Pep is attracted to.
City already has former Barcelona director of football Txiki Beruiristain at the same position as well as former Barça CEO and financial vice president Ferran Soriano as their chief executive. It’s a safe assumption to say that Man City is a perfect situation for Pep Guardiola.
But I believe he wants to manage the other Manchester team.
The Daily Telegraph reported in October that United chiefs have targeted Pep when Sir Alex leaves his post. There was another report in August that Pep and Sir Alex met in New York while Fergie was attending the US Open.
Perhaps Pep wants to go to a team with more tradition, more high profile, and more popularity.
For Manchester United, of course it would be a great move to bring in Pep, however, a roster revamp would be needed more at United than City as the Red Devils are an older team—see Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, and Paul Scholes.
Remember that Pep has had United’s number in the past (2009 and 2011 UEFA Champions League Finals), and the Red Devils certainly would not want to face a Pep-lead squad in the EPL for the next four-five years.
Pep having United’s number is just one of the reasons City will do everything to grab Guardiola, not to mention it feels like a “BarceFAUXla” (as I call Man City) is being built at Man City.
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are certainly not friends, but they do respect each other and will certainly meet up again on the football pitch.
And that place is in England.
For two years, the Pep vs. Mou rivalry was must-see TV in La Liga. Soon enough, the rivalry will continue in the EPL and will more than likely involve a Manchester team.
But I hope it'll involve both City and United.
Pep and Mou in the same city: How great would that be? Maybe they can be neighbors (kidding). And with the British media cooking up more drama, it will be a football fans dream come true.
Pep and Mou will make the Sir Alex Ferguson vs. Roberto Mancini rivalry look like a tea party.
Logic says Pep Guardiola should go to Manchester City since former Barcelona officials are already there. Jose Mourinho will fit at either City or United.
While logic says Pep should go to City and Mou to United, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the opposite happen.
For those asking: Yes, Chelsea is still a player in hiring Guardiola, Pep has never been a fan of Chelsea to say the least—not to mention he may not want to go to a place where the owner is quick to pull the manager.
I honestly can’t see Mourinho going back to Chelsea. He shouldn’t go there, and I doubt his pride would allow him to go back.
The wildcard in all of this is PSG. Money is not an issue with them as they can handsomely reward any manager or player. One thing both Pep and Mou will need to consider is whether or not they want to manage a team in a league that is not as high profile as the Premier League.
The pressure for either men to win a Champions League, not just a Ligue I title. Not that that’s not important at City or United, but PSG officials are trying to be a “big club” in Europe, not just in France.
Also, would Pep or Mou consider going to Ligue I? With all due respect to fans of French football, Ligue I is behind EPL, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga in marketing and popularity. While Ligue I is very competitive, it may not be enough to tempt Pep or Mou.
Mourinho may have more to gain if he goes to PSG as he could become the only manager to win a league title in five different countries. Still, Mou wants the EPL.
This summer—like all summer transfer windows—will be very interesting to say the least. Players will move around, managers will come and go, etc.
But what I’m looking forward to is seeing if Jose Mourinho moves to the Premier League and if Pep Guardiola will make up his mind and manages again.
Do us football fans a favor, Pep and Mou, go to the city of Manchester and relive the Barcelona vs. Real Madrid rivalry days every Manchester Derby.
Pep vs. Mou, Part II: EPL
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