Updates from Tuesday, April 22
Pep Guardiola has responded to rumours linking him with the Manchester United job. Those wishing to see the Spanish manager at Old Trafford may be disappointed, as he confirmed plans to remain at the Allianz Arena, per Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC:
Manchester United will attempt to coax Pep Guardiola into leaving Bayern Munich and becoming Old Trafford boss after the sacking of David Moyes, according to reports.
He could also be followed by Paul Scholes, who may land a prominent role at the club, per Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail.
Moyes' departure was met by a statement thanking the manager's "hard work, honesty and integrity," a trio of attributes that were unable to save the former Everton boss his job. It seems United are looking for tactical nuance, ambition and creativity as the team moves forward, something Matt Law of the Telegraph believes will lead them to an approach for Guardiola:
Manchester United are prepared to make a check on Pep Guardiola before turning to their list of more realistic targets.
[...] Such a move would be a long-shot, as Guardiola is only 12 months into the three-year deal he signed at Bayern last summer. The Spaniard has already guided the German club to the Bundesliga title and faces Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday night.
Law also suggests United understand Guardiola will "eventually" like to manage in the Premier League, making the Spaniard an outside bet for a side that is looking to dramatically improve next season.
Exactly one year before Moyes' sacking, United captured their final title under Sir Alex Ferguson—a fate decided by Robin van Persie's delicious hat-trick against Aston Villa—but there has been little for fans to get excited about afterwards.
Since then, Guardiola eased Bayern to the Bundesliga crown with a confident start in Germany. His champions also remain in Europe and have a DFB Pokal Cup final against Borussia Dortmund to look forward to, highlighting the extremity of Guardiola's success, despite this being his first year in charge.
The 43-year-old will line up opposite Jurgen Klopp during the upcoming final, a manager who ruled himself out of the vacant job's opening by admitting his deal with Dortmund is "not breakable," per Raphael Honigstein of the Guardian.
Guardiola's passing style was shown in full force during United's recent European ties with Bayern, a duo of matches that saw Moyes' team attempt to soak up pressure. United's lack of intent and confidence in possession saw them easily swotted away in the end, a conclusion that continued to repeat under Moyes' leadership.
Although it seems highly unlikely Guardiola would swap his developing success for the current struggle at United, he recently suggested he would quit Bayern if criticism didn't stop. Guardiola said "if the club do not want me," all he needs is "a handshake" and he will be on his way. He suggested he would have "no problem" with this situation, per Mundo Deportivo and Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC.
United now turn to Ryan Giggs until the end of the season, reported by the club's official website, but another club great could soon return to the fold in the shape of Scholes. Ladyman's report indicates Scholes may return in a coaching role "after becoming disillusioned with what he felt were half-hearted attempts by Moyes to find him a role."
Scholes would further add a sense of familiarity to the club. United fans relied on individuals such as Giggs and Scholes throughout their playing careers, they are both figures of United dominance, indicating a return to old ways could be put into place. The aforementioned favourites were defined by their attacking intent, a trait United lost under Moyes.
Baby steps need to be taken at Old Trafford. United's return to form is likely to progress slowly, especially considering the new ideas will need to be taken on board from Giggs, and then the newly installed permanent boss.
The key thing is progress. Should United rack up a few wins heading into the end of the season, the club will enter the summer with rekindled hopes of success. Guardiola appears an unlikely option, but the Spaniard is certainly in the calibre of boss United should strive to hire.
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