It is looking increasingly unlikely that the Premier League will be graced by the managerial talents of Pep Guardiola in 2015/16.
The self-proclaimed ‘best league on the planet’ may not to have to wait too much longer, though, before welcoming the talented Spaniard through its doors. Guardiola, a man who oversaw the building of the latest dynasty in Barcelona’s glittering history, is not the kind of character to let his feet get stuck under a table.
After all, he walked away from the Camp Nou at the peak of Barca’s powers, preferring to work on rolling 12-month deals that helped to keep him sharp and the exit door always slightly ajar. He has now spent two years in the hot-seat at German giants Bayern Munich, helping to preserve their monopoly over domestic matters – with Bundesliga betting markets seeing little to suggest that a changing of the guard will be occurring any time soon – while keeping them competitive in Europe.
Guardiola has, however, failed to deliver the Champions League crown to Bavaria – an achievement managed by his predecessor Jupp Heynckes – and he may be starting to wonder if the time is approaching to move on.
An inability to get his hands on European football’s biggest prize obviously still grates, though, as he appears happy to commit to at least one more year at Bayern.
This summer could mark the start of a long goodbye, though, with it not difficult to see him packing his bags for pastures new 12 months down the line. Having then worked in the top divisions in Spain and Germany, and with there few jobs of any great appeal in Italy or France, England will be his next logical step.
Manchester City have been heavily linked with his services, as they can offer the financial muscle that appeals to those with an insatiable appetite for success, and the Blues look like they are prepared to keep Manuel Pellegrini around for another season in the hope of seeing their top target make himself available in 2016.
Guardiola’s arrival in the Premier League would certainly whet the appetite of followers around the world, with two of the sport’s finest tactical minds suddenly in the same place at the same time.
Jose Mourinho finally seems settled in his surroundings at Chelsea, with the Portuguese back in his spiritual home in west London.
To see him pit his wits against Guardiola on a weekly basis would help to lift the English top-flight brand to even greater heights, with fireworks aplenty to be expected in the pursuit of major honors at home and abroad.
The pair have not always seen eye to eye and know how to push each others buttons – something which should, in theory, act as inspiration and added motivation for both.
Clashes between managerial greats can often be as intriguing as tussles between icons on the field, across all sports, and an ever-growing Premier League fan base will be hoping that the day two of the finest exponents of football management this or any other generation has produced lock horns in the heat of battle is not too far down the road.