Pep Guardiola Alerts EPL Clubs After Revealing Desire to Coach in England
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Pep Guardiola has placed leading Premier League clubs on red alert after voicing his desire to coach in England in a message to celebrate the Football Association's 150th anniversary on TheFA.com.
The former Barcelona coach left the Camp Nou last summer to take a sabbatical from the game after winning 14 trophies in four years in charge of the Catalan club.
The 41-year-old is the hottest property in football and any interest in Premier League management will prick the ears of high-profile clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson shows no sign of wavering in his own desire to keep his team at the top of European football.
However, having just turned 71, the Old Trafford boss and the club hierarchy recognise that the club legend cannot go on indefinitely at the helm.
Guardiola would be a natural fit to replace Ferguson with his experience at the top level in domestic and European competition.
The Sun reported in November last year that Guardiola had targeted the Old Trafford hot-seat as his next destination in the game.
United have a pedigree and history which mirrors that of Barcelona and are a club that can match Guardiola's own ambitions.
Ferguson's playing style and pointed reliance on bringing through younger players alongside experience was also at the forefront of Guardiola's time at Barcelona.
Across Manchester, City have tasted success under manager Roberto Mancini in the last two seasons with the Premier League title and FA Cup in the trophy cupboard.
However, any impact on the European stage has been lost with two poor Champions League campaigns under the Italian.
Club owner Sheikh Mansour has spent millions in pursuit of success in UEFA's elite tournament and closing the gap on rivals United and Guardiola's former employers Barcelona.
Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group are committed to building City at grassroots level also with the Manchester Evening News revealing an early glimpse of the planned Etihad Academy in September 2012.
Such belief in football from the ground up will resound with Guardiola, who was a talent borne from the Barcelona academy of young talent.
The presence of ex-Barcelona directors Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano at the City of Manchester Stadium, as director of football and chief executive respectively, cannot be underplayed either.
The Russian may have the financial muscle to persuade Guardiola to join him at Stamford Bridge, but having nine managers during nine-year tenure is not a figure to boast about.
Rafael Benitez is the interim manager at Stamford Bridge after replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November 2012 until the end of the season, but the shadow of Guardiola has figured prominently during his short time with the club.
If Guardiola were to join Chelsea, he would not be able to instill his brand of football immediately. It took Barcelona several seasons before their style came to the fore.
Abramovich does not have a history of managerial stability to back up his hopes of landing Guardiola, and lost his best manager with the departure of Jose Mourinho in 2007. He has been playing catch-up ever since.
Arsenal have always caught the eye of Guardiola, though, and Goal.com last month claimed the Barca legend viewed the Emirates Stadium role as his favored English role.
Guardiola also defended Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the Gunners' 8-2 defeat at Manchester United in August 2011, telling reporters in Spain that "we have to remember what he (Wenger) has done for football in general."
The Spaniard also began preparation for his coaching badges at Arsenal and has an affinity with the north London club and its manager.
However, any move for Guardiola would be dependent on Wenger. The Frenchman has endured a tumultuous season with crowd unrest and the Capital One Cup defeat to League Two Bradford City contributing to an uncomfortable time for the Gunners' manager.
The Emirates Stadium hierarchy are unlikely to lose patience with Wenger, who does not want to leave anyway.
Arsenal and Wenger retain an excellent record of qualifying for the Champions League for 15 successive seasons while working within tighter budget constraints than other clubs, as he highlighted to the Daily Telegraph last month.
Whether Guardiola would want to work in the same conditions is debatable.
Which English club represents the best fit for Guardiola? Let us know what you think below.
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