Jose Mourinho being sacked by Chelsea is the big news from the week, but he may not be the only former Barcelona staff member to change jobs. Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola and management are expected to announce soon that Guardiola will not be returning and will be looking for a new challenge for next season.
Whether a falling out with the medical staff or ownership is the reasoning for Guardiola’s potential departure, any reason that makes the Catalan available for another team will excite a number of clubs, particularly in England. The current success of Luis Enrique means that Guardiola may not be needed back at the Camp Nou, though most Cules would love to see the latter back on the sidelines again in the future.
Nevertheless, Guardiola again moving clubs could have an impact on Barcelona. When he moved to Bayern in 2013, the former Barcelona boss immediately came for and signed Thiago Alcantara, at the time considered Barcelona’s brightest midfield prospect. While Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are all apparently options, Guardiola going to Manchester City appears to not only be the best fit for him, but would also have the greatest effect on Barcelona.
Here are three reasons why Barcelona should worry if Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City:
Manchester City’s payroll
The rumors about Chelsea and Manchester City trying to pry Lionel Messi away from Barcelona have been rampant in recent months. While City’s ability to pay him gigantic wages may not be enough to lure him, Guardiola’s presence could tip the scales.
The father and son relationship between coach and player was full of good memories and terrific success, and while Bayern may not have been prepared to pay for a reunion, Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour may be more willing.
Simply from a marketing standpoint, putting Messi in an English-speaking market would bring in huge amounts of revenue and would please all parties involved. The close friendship between Messi and Sergio Aguero is another incentive for a possible defection.
Messi may not be the only one that Guardiola would try to entice away from Catalonia with a newfound bankroll. If he were to go after another player that saw his rise under the former midfield pivot, say current midfield pivot Sergio Busquets, that could mean major changes for Luis Enrique’s squad.
As seen at Bayern, Guardiola is a manager who demands the world’s best players, even if it compromises the playing time of current squad members. With more money at his disposal, who knows how Guardiola’s recruitment strategy would affect his former team?
The Champions League dream
Pep Guardiola was not at the helm when Bayern had their recent Champions League success over Barcelona, and while Barcelona certainly returned the favor last season, Guardiola at Manchester City could create a new threat in European competition.
Having lost to Barcelona in their last two Round of 16 match-ups, City would love to get over the hill and topple the Catalan giants. Even if they are unable to poach Barcelona’s players, Guardiola will certainly help to bring in quality players that could help take the Sky Blues to the next level.
English teams have not had much success in Europe in recent seasons, but it’s about time that one of the usual suspects reaches the apex again. With Chelsea currently faltering, Manchester United showing again this season that they have work to do and Arsenal neglecting to change their formula, City appear to be the English club most likely to join Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid as clubs that not only could take home Champions League gold, but are disappointed when they don’t come out on top.
Of course Chelsea and Manchester United have the ability to win it all, but for English clubs, it is no longer a disappointment when they don’t win the Champions League trophy. Guardiola would change Manchester City’s expectations, and that could create a new rival in European competition for the Catalans.
Similar to how Guardiola could hurt Barcelona in the transfer market, he could also hurt Barcelona’s future with his ability to recruit youth prospects. Manchester City saw promising midfielder Denis Suarez snagged by Barcelona back in 2013, and since that time, the English club has continued to enhance their youth facilities and build up the reputation of their academy.
Former Arsenal great Patrick Vieira will be moving from the reserve team to sister club New York City FC to become their head coach, but the work he did for City’s youth development is already substantial.
The promise of playing for famed coach Pep Guardiola in the first team could help the Sky Blues capture a few youth players that Barcelona have their eyes on, and this could help tip the balance of power in Europe in future years.
Yet, Cules won’t be too afraid of a move to England for Guardiola. As Barcelona showed when they were able to dismantle his Bayern side in Europe last season, they are still the stronger force and he will have some work to do before Manchester City or any club he moves to become a serious threat to Luis Enrique and company.