Guardiola snub could spark 'insane' scramble for Mourinho
Former Barcelona boss turns his back on Chelsea and Man City to join Bayern Munich
PEP GUARDIOLA has dealt a huge blow to the Premier League by agreeing to take over as manager of German club Bayern Munich, snubbing the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Only yesterday the former Barcelona boss, who is currently on sabbatical in New York, was being linked to the most high-profile jobs in England after paying tribute to the FA and revealing that he would one day like to work in the Premier League. But it later transpired that he has agreed to take over at the Allianz Arena next season.
"We are very pleased we have succeeded in bringing Pep Guardiola, the football expert, to Bayern," said the club's executive board chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "He is one of the most successful managers in world football and we are sure he will boost not just Bayern, but all of German football."
It is certainly a coup for Bayern, Germany's biggest football club, but is devastating news for his Premier League suitors. And the news could have serious repercussions, not least for Jose Mourinho, who will become the most wanted man in Europe this summer.
Guardiola's decision will be seen as a "considerable blow" for Chelsea and Manchester City, the two clubs who most wanted him, says The Times. Arsenal and Manchester United will also be disappointed, but most commenters agree that it is Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich who will be most hurt.
"There are various ways of interpreting this decision by the most desired young manager in all of football but the most compelling, surely, is the message it sends to Roman Abramovich," says James Lawton in The Independent. "The Chelsea owner... has been told that there are still a few men in football who do not have their price."
Guardiola's decision is unsurprising, argues Guillem Balague in the Daily Telegraph. "He wanted a number of things from his next club: challenging for titles straight away, a quality squad he can mould to his image, enough money to buy few top players, good infrastructure, a club philosophy. He believes Bayern offers him all of that. Chelsea do not – not all of it."
It is not just Chelsea but the entire Premier League who will be affected.
"For so long the Premier League has been held aloft, albeit mainly by itself, as the pinnacle of entertainment and quality, but Guardiola's snub will highlight more than ever the decline in status of English football’s top-flight," warns Ewan Roberts of Goal.com.
The news is the second blow for English football this year, as The Guardian points out. "The Premier League had no players in Fifa's World XI; now it has failed to attract one of the world's best managers."
But some will welcome the news. And the big winner is Guardiola's old adversary in Spain, Jose Mourinho. He is "now the outstanding candidate for any major jobs that become available, whether in Manchester, London or Paris," says the Guardian.
James Lawton in the Daily Mail agrees. "The Special One has never been in such demand and never in such a strong position; a manager, assuming he leaves Real Madrid at the end of the season, who can take his pick," he says. With Manchester United planning for life after Fergie and Man City and Chelsea now looking for an alternative to Guardiola, there could be "an insane three-way battle for the signature of Mourinho".