It’s for good reason that Pep Guardiola is the most sought-after manager in world football; every club wants a slice of the pie that made Barcelona the most dominant club team of this generation.
The first point to tackle is the one which questions why Guardiola would want to go near Chelsea and its meddlesome owner, Roman Abramovich. We’ve already seen that Guardiola was happy to move on from what were seemingly comfortable surroundings at Barcelona, and that was due in part to him not being totally at ease with president Sandro Rosell. In contrast, the position at Chelsea would give him absolutely no flexibility or time to truly have a lasting impact.
But it should never have been a given that Guardiola would end up at Chelsea, and in the self-professed best league in the world; there are a host of very reputable clubs awaiting him, ones which could offer so much more than the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge.
The model of German football is one which should be infinitely praised and followed by the other leagues in UEFA’s vast net. Bayern Munich have built on a very good squad of last season, one which came very close to claiming the Champions League at the Allianz Arena, and are now powering ahead of their rivals at the top of the Bundesliga table.
Guardiola has always made it clear that his next job would be one which offered him a project, one where he could be afforded time and the necessary resources to bring to life another footballing dynasty which so many owners and supporters crave.
The setup at Bayern is magnificent, from the 71,000 seat Allianz Arena, to the incredible production line of German talent: everything a manager of Guardiola’s ideals would need to turn a powerhouse into a relentless machine both domestically and in European competition.
Are Bayern equipped to carry out the orders and playing style of Guardiola? The Bavarians recently parted with a reported 40 million euros to capture Javi Martinez, reinforcing the midfield alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and adding another option for the centre-back role. It’s always important to note how every player worked tirelessly to Guardiola’s strict orders in Barcelona. It was a defence which split apart and played the ball out from the back; it was a holding midfielder who dropped deep to hover in that space where centre-backs are usually placed. It was a defence with constant, rapidly shifting of shapes and formations while pinging the ball about at pace.
Martinez would offer an option as one of the players who could guide either the defence or midfield in a Guardiola system. He was deployed at centre-back at Athletic Bilbao under Marcelo Bielsa and became a hugely influential player while on the road to two cup finals last season. Strong, technically excellent and with the mindset of others in the dominating Spanish national team, Martinez could be one of the keys to unlocking a flurry of success for Guardiola at Bayern.
But the attacking players on show at the club are also of exceptional quality. Toni Kroos has risen to become one of the leading midfielders in Europe, while Thomas Muller continues to grow into a reliable but increasingly influential character both on and off the pitch for the club. The foreign imports of Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben and Xherdan Shaqiri offer plenty to a manager looking to replicate the success of Barcelona‘s attack; the forward line of Mario Gomez, Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro should be considered one of the strongest in Europe; and Manuel Neuer is arguably the finest goalkeeper on the continent.
Why should German football be seen as too outlandish an idea when raising thoughts as to Guardiola’s possible future? While the manager would not have the same influences around him that were in place at the Camp Nou, Bayern are a club with a rich history, a specific philosophy and a number of important figures in place who have an in depth understanding of the club and it’s expectations. You really struggle to find a sense that Guardiola would be undermined at Bayern in the same manner as he would if he ended up at Chelsea.
Jupp Heynckes’ contract at Bayern runs out at the end of the season, and the German has made it known that he has no intention of extending his stay. In the same way that Chelsea and perhaps even Manchester City and Manchester United may be looking a few years into the future come the end of the season, Bayern remain in that top bracket as most probable and interesting destinations for Guardiola.