Manchester City have officially announced that Pep Guardiola will join the club on a three-year contract from 1 July 2016, replacing current manager Manuel Pellegrini at the end of this season.
The confirmation puts an end to months of unnecessary speculation around the City manager’s future as well as Guardiola’s future, and now attention will move towards City’s expected summer transfer signings (earmarked in advance by Guardiola and worked on by Begiristain and Soriano) and the challenges Pep will face in England.
City statement on Pep G and Pellegrini pic.twitter.com/NFnOdH6nva
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Manchester City’s official statement:
“Manchester City can confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalised contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC Head Coach for the 2016/17 EPL season onwards.
“The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012. Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the Club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation.
“Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club.”
After his presser ahead of the Sunderland game, Pellegrini took the time out to address the situation:
“Before I finish, I want to tell you I have talked with the club and I will finish my contract on the original date.”
“I signed for one year more but with the clause that the club or me can choose not to use that now. So I finish here 30 June, so there is not the speculation.”
“The club are not doing anything behind me, I knew this one month ago, but I don’t think it’s good to have rumour or speculation about these things, so I prefer to finish today, which I why I have told the players and I have told the press. I also spoke to the club two weeks ago and said that I would do it.”
Pellegrini had signed a two-year contract extension back in August but as speculated at the time, it meant little in case City were to convince Guardiola to sign with them, which they have done now.
Pellegrini will now be in demand in England and in Europe, having led Mancester City to the Premier League title in 2013/14. Chelsea are rumoured to be interested, especially if Diego Simeone cannot be prised away from Atletico Madrid, although recent reports suggest that Antonio Conte is also a front-runner for the Stamford Bridge post.
Manchester United will be linked as well despite the taboo of cross-city moves – however Pellegrini works best with a director of football and given United’s comical handling of transfers, he’s unlikely to pull up trees in the red half of Manchester either.
The big question for now, though, is whether Guardiola can lead City to Champions League glory. But first, he must try and achieve the same with Bayern.