Sorry, I wasn't going to continue to write on this story, all that has been said is a fact now, so there is little to speculate on or editorialize on, but the English continue to insist that Pep Guardiola will change his plans either now or within the next 12 months and seek out greener pastures in England, testing himself and his philosophy against the likes of Southampton, Stoke City, and a dozen other lesser lights in the English game that are still seen as a greater challenge than any of the slew of Spanish league minnows that his FC Barcelona side have beaten up on.
He ended his run at Barça as he had begun it, with against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey, he waved goodbye and almost immediately the British papers began to write their fiction during this less-than newsworthy period before Euro 2012. Let me a little shed light on it.
I would be very surprised that Pep Guardiola would back down on his word and revive his managerial career after he has so publicly called an intermission to it, but apparently this new batch of hysteria is based on a response Guaurdiola gave to the question, ¨How long do you expect to be out of football?¨ The apparently coded response, "I will train again. Offers will be pleasantly received. But for the next month[s] I have to charge my batteries, to charge my mind. I want to rest and I will wait. And I will be ready and if one club wants me and they seduce me, I will train again." I know some had a difficult time with the singular or plural of month, but all indications are that he will see out at least an entire year. He wants to travel, he wants to watch football and if you remember the methodical nature in which Guardiola attacks life in general, let alone the game itself, he will likely research his options and make the appropriate decision for himself and his family.
Chelsea FC: I know Roman Abramovich will wait until Guardiola reappears and he´ll throw money at him, because he is a collector of bright shiny-things, but in the end he is is no visionary and never appreciates them and he always returns to unstylish managers who grind out results. He should just give the job to Roberto DeMatteo for honor´s sake.
Manchester City: the Arab owners were close to chucking Roberto Mancini, but he won the league and he brought this disparate group of players together. Mancini has played and managed at some of the biggest clubs in England and in Italy. They already have the best man for their job.
Manchester United: anyone following Ferguson will have to come out of his shadow. Guardiola is too intelligent to not only come up against the supporter´s, the media and the man himself when the inevitable comment, ¨Sir Alex wouldn´t do it that way...¨ comes up. No, they need to hire someone from within the fold, a Gary Neville or somesuch in the next few years.
Arsenal: while the Gunners already have the cantera available and the playing style is similar, based on a certain attacking branch of the Ajax school of play, the conomics aren´t a fit. It´s not that the Arsenal aren´t capable of paying for his services, but they are definitely not available to pay the wages for the prime players that Guardiola requires to run his system. You can´t just ask players who aren´t capable of retaining the ball, pressuring the opponent and creating space by constantly managing space around you like Barcelona do unless you have the players there who can do it. Just look at AS Roma.
Liverpool: this is actually the only one that might tempt him out of his retirement. I think there is already a Spanish presence there, there is a veiled brilliance in their history and Guardiola has the heart of a poet ultimately and might see himself as right to revive the old-line, plus this could be his way of thanking Txiki Begiristain for hiring him in the first place by getting him a job at Anfield. There are also slews of Spanish kids in the youth teams of Sporting Gijón, Espanyol, Real Madrid and even Barcelona that could be had for a song and already play in a form of the Barcelona style for the U-21, U-19 and U-17´s. He could mold them quickly and supplement the players the `Pool already have.
That said, I doubt any of this will come true. I know Pep has stated that he admires English Football and would love to test his skills in other leagues, but I just don´t see it just yet. He would have to confront the age and splintered dressing-room at Chelsea and if Ancelotti couldn´t manage it who is to say he would. There is no glory in following a legend at Man Utd., and there are dressing room pressures and board room pressures Arsenal, Manchester City and especially Liverpool. Pep Guardiola is in an enviable place as a man who can pick his next job with a dance-card loaded with the richest clubs in the world. He´ll never get a blank-check again and I think he´ll take his time.