Pep Guardiola has revealed the worst kept secret in football: he is off to the Premier League.
Every job in the Premier League has suddenly became unstable. But look at Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool: be careful what you wish for.
Will Guardiola go to Man City? Manchester United? What about Chelsea? The Blues have been rumoured, despite being ingrained with the Catalan tactician’s old adversary Jose Mourinho.
That question is over and done with, if we’re to believe the bookmakers. William Hill reckon Guardiola will be a Sky Blue come the end of the season.
Spokesman Joe Crilly says: “We’ve been taking money on who the next City boss will be for about 18 months or so, since City were knocked out of last season’s Champions League. Because of all the money we saw on that particular market – When will Pellegrini leave, Who will take over from Pellegrini – it became abundantly obvious that it’s Guardiola who’ll take over, when Pellegrini does leave.”
The Manchester City connection is obvious.
Current City CEO and director of football are former Barcelona men – Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain. They have bags of money. They also have probably the most talented squad in England, who should be doing better than they are.
But football isn’t as straightforward as that. So a good outside bet for Guardiola could be further down South.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is looking odds on to seal a league title win after a 10-year wait. If he does, many believe Wenger could step down after 18 years in charge.
But could Guardiola step into his shoes? Not likely, says Crilly.
“Even when Wenger has looked in trouble, like when he struggled to qualify for the Champions League in fourth place, Wenger – given what he has done at Arsenal – has earned the right to dictate when he leaves. He doesn’t seem like the type to stand aside for Pep Guardiola. So we’ve never really taken money on that.”
Despite Louis Van Gaal’s trials at Manchester United, Guardiola doesn’t seem to be in the running there. So it looks certain to be City. But Wenger isn’t actually immortal. Gardiola says he wants to live in London. And at 12/1? Don’t say we didn’t tell you…
Odds for Pep Guardiola’s next club: 2/7 Manchester City; 6/1 Chelsea; 7/1 Manchester United; 12/1 Arsenal
Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran