Photo Credit:

While the season is far from over, there can be no doubt that this campaign has been truly unique. After feeling like the standard bearer for England and destined to eventually translate that to Champions League success, Manchester City is sitting in February with distinct thoughts about turning the page towards May…or, possibly, already closing the book on this season.

With the point total from 2018-19, the talent level still involved at the club, and a bank account that still feels limitless, there is only one ending to this season that could be seen as success: Champions League winners.

The bigger question…

No matter the ending for this run, any Manchester City fan knows that they face a summer of change. While the world is their oyster in terms of players they can shift into their side, the man that has transformed Manchester City into the behemoth that was (and is) is the most intriguing aspect of a team that seemed posed to become a long-term dynasty at the top of English soccer:

Pep Guardiola

The manager does have a contract at the Etihad that runs through the 2020-21 season, but there’s a bit of a historical pattern with Guardiola…coupled with some interesting possibilities that has this summer looking like a possible exit for the man at the helm.

Pep’s time at Barcelona? 4 years. Pep’s time at Bayern Munich? 3 years. How long has Pep been at City? This season marks his 4th year at the club…meaning that this summer will determine whether the Spaniard chooses to make Manchester City his longest tenured club in his career.

Would you choose the rebuild that the City owners will demand this summer? Or, would you be tempted by some of the other options?

The “Other” Clubs

There’s three jobs that could easily tempt Guardiola away, but each represents a unique challenge…and none can offer the simple fact that Pep has built this City team into what they are, along with the adoration the City faithful have for their leader.

First: Barcelona

The temptation of the return. The ability to milk the last bits of glory from Messi. The only place that can give Guardiola the love that City feels for the manager. With Barcelona’s current success feeling far removed from where they were during Pep’s first tenure, this change might represent the biggest rebuild of all his choices (even the idea of staying). Suarez is aging, the defense needs an overhaul, and the midfield feels like its on the verge of a complete shift.

The tallest climb, but a choice that (if coupled with success) could turn Guardiola from incredible to legendary. Percent chance: 25%

Second: PSG

A club with a singular ambition and the only pockets as deep as Manchester City’s. Neymar could probably be convinced to stay if Pep walked through the door, and Mbappe feels like the type of player that Guardiola would relish managing. The job with the biggest questions marks as there’s still just something missing from this club and their Champions League quest. Too many managers have passed through this challenge and come up short…the risk somehow feels biggest here. Failure anywhere else, and Pep feels like he could be forgiven…failure here, and the legend of Pep might take a serious dent.

Champions League or bust…and Pep hasn’t won the competition since Barcelona. A tall order… Percent chance: 35%

Third: Juventus

Easily the most tantalizing offer on the table, but with one of the biggest road blocks in the way. An incredible squad, the current destination of every player leaving their club on a free transfer, and the chance to join a league that has seen all the major clubs within seriously up their game. However, Juventus feels the least likely club to part with their current management…even if Pep is available. Juventus shares the Champions League hunt aspect with PSG, but comes complete with a league that could let Pep prove that he’s still got the goods.

He’s coached Messi, could join up with Ronaldo, and could add the last of Europe’s top four leagues to his personal silverware drawer. Percent chance: 40%

The Shadow of the Blue Moon

Perhaps the most interesting wrinkle of the story would be if Pep and City bring home the Champions League. It would be tough for Guardiola to think that there’s much more to accomplish in Manchester if he brings City their last and most coveted piece of silverware. Filling the last year of his contract feels the most likely if Pep stumbles right at the finish line, but it’s a tough conundrum for City fans…another year of Pep, or Champions League glory?


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,