Take it with a grain of salt, and please please please don’t castrate me with abusive comments for suggesting such a fallacy (my fragile ego couldn’t take it).
But reports have emerged from a variety of sources (goal.com, the Daily Mirror and Metro to name but a few) that a source close to the ex-Barcelona manager has opened a can—nay, a veritable barrel of worms—with these words in Goal.com:
Guardiola’s preference in England is Arsenal. The club are aware he would be interested in the job in 2013.
The original Goal.com article goes on to dismiss Chelsea as a potential destination for Guardiola after his yearlong sabbatical elapses, claiming that the London club suffers from a “lack of stability”, presumably stemming from owner Roman Abramovich’s infamously trigger-happy approach to his managers.
Guardiola’s success at Barcelona during his tenure with the Catalan club is unparalleled in recent memory: in just four years, the Spanish legend won a face-melting, libido-increasing, swoon-inducing 14 titles, including two Champions League titles in three years.
But Guardiola’s greatest triumph must surely lie in his man management. Having taken over from Frank Rijkaard in 2008 and inherited an aging team, bursting with quality but plagued by egos and lethargy, the young Guardiola showed tremendous bravery and intent in disassembling much of Rijkaard’s Barcelona upon arrival, as is chronicled in this excellent article.
The current incarnation of Barcelona is built around a core of outstanding talent like Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, many of whom grew up playing with one another.
The speed, familiarity and technical prowess offered by the younger generation is complemented by legendary stalwarts of the club, such as Xavi, Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol, who are also products of the Barcelona youth system and have been integral parts of the first team for many years.
Finally, Guardiola’s time at Barca saw him utilize the club’s vast financial power to fill in the gaps that remained: a hole at right-back? No problem. Some £31 million later, in comes Dani Alves.
No absolutely dominant striker up front? Hmm, now, I think we had £61 million lying around somewh—oh, hi there Zlatan!
Zlatan failed? Sell him and buy David Villa, he’s Spanish! Now we’re even more legit. World domination, here we come.
An obvious obstacle to Guardiola taking the reins at the Emirates is Arsenal’s seminal manager, Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman has managed the Gunners for 16 years now, and many, including this author, view him as being one of the three or four greatest football managers of the modern era.
Having brought the Gunners unprecedented success upon his arrival, Wenger then guided the North London club through a potentially disastrous period as the club was financially hampered by the costs of the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium.
Despite a drastically reduced transfer budget and consequentially a team based around the identification and development of young talent, rather than the regular, expensive purchase of established ability, Wenger has guided the Gunners to a top-four finish every year during his tenure—a truly astonishing achievement.
Many Arsenal fans, again including the author, wholeheartedly support the notion of diverting all available resources into discovering some way to genetically clone Wenger so that he might remain Le Boss for all eternity, but current science is unfortunately not quite at the required level.
Stay tuned—further development will see an analysis of how Guardiola would adjust to Arsenal from a tactical perspective.
However, prone as I may be to knee-jerk reactions, I would encourage all football fans to place as little faith in these rumours as you would in Tony Montana’s abilities as a guidance counselor. It’s a slow time of year, and the websites that have published this rumour are notoriously unreliable.
You never know though, do you?