The idea that the Bayern Munich boss could soon be on the move still seems ludicrous, despite constant rumours. Bayern have been so good in recent years that they’ve all but rendered the rest of the Bundesliga obsolete, and they’re consistently a threat in Champions League play. The likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid are just as strong, and in a given year the top club from the Premier League can compete. But Bayern is as deadly a club as there is in Europe, and a lot of it has happened under Pep Guardiola’s guidance. Even so, talk persists that the brilliant head coach could see his way to England, either bound for the Premier League or to take over as the national team manager.
The Premier League rumours have been circulating quite literally for years. Our own Richard Brook covered the story back in November 2012, asking the question of whether Guardiola would ever step through the door that Chelsea left ajar for him. For those who may not recall, the decision by Chelsea to appoint an interim manager in 2012 after the departure of Roberto Di Matteo was viewed by some as an invitation to Guardiola, who was then on a brief sabbatical from professional football. He was never brought on board, though, instead making his way to Bayern Munich to start the 2013/14 season while José Mourinho went to London.
But now the circumstances are right for this story to come up again. Despite enjoying the status of a defending champion, Chelsea has been an absolute disaster in the Premier League this season, with just 11 points in the first 10 matches. What would have sounded almost blasphemous a couple months ago now seems perfectly reasonable: José Mourinho could be sacked, in which case Chelsea will undoubtedly be looking for a major head coach to take over as soon as possible. Sure enough, Guardiola has been linked with a move to the club, given that his contract with Bayern Munich is up at the end of this season. Many believe that it’s only a matter of time before Guardiola manages in the Premier League, and this could be an exceptional opportunity to take over a team with the talent of a domestic champion but a drastic need for new direction.
On the other hand, Mourinho’s sacking is still just a possibility at this point, and there are many who believe Guardiola could skip the EPL altogether and move straight into managing the English national team. English supporters have been frustrated with the good-but-not-great state of this team for many years now. If current boss Roy Hodgson can’t produce a strong result at Euro 2016 next summer, his contract is extremely unlikely to be renewed. If that should be the case, the Football Association are considering a ‘swoop’ for the Bayern Munich manager and they could have a real shot at getting him. The chance to lead any national team is difficult for a manager to pass up, and the idea of leading England back toward the top of world football would certainly be appealing, if daunting.
A lot would have to happen for either of these developments to actually occur, but given the long-lasting rumours of a move to England and the possible openings that could await him, Pep Guardiola has to at least be considering a change. Don’t be surprised if he’s the man entrusted with helping Chelsea rebound from what’s become a nightmare of a season—or with reinvigorating the English national team.