Sunday 23 October 2016

Vity's worst Pep-t secret

Pellegrini to depart in summer to make way for coveted Guardiola

Pep Guardiola’s rumoured move to Manchester City was finally confirmed yesterday. Photo: Getty
Pep Guardiola’s rumoured move to Manchester City was finally confirmed yesterday. Photo: Getty
(l-r) Pep Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini as Manchester City manager in the summer. Photo: Reuters

Manchester City have beaten off their Premier League rivals after confirming the appointment of Pep Guardiola as their next manager.

City have announced Guardiola, the outgoing Bayern Munich boss, will take over from Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season.

The news ends weeks of speculation over the future of Guardiola, who had also been linked with Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester United.

United sources have suggested they did not make an approach for the 45-year-old but City have revealed their negotiations began weeks ago and they are understood to believe Guardiola resisted overtures from other clubs.

Guardiola has agreed a three-year deal at the Etihad Stadium with Pellegrini standing down at the end of the current campaign.

Pellegrini, whose original contract was due to expire at the end of this season, agreed a one-year extension last summer but has now opted not to take up that offer.

A club statement read: "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 16/17 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 Pellegrini, 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."

The news came at the end of a standard Pellegrini press conference to preview tonight's Premier League game at Sunderland. First Pellegrini announced his departure and that was quickly followed by the club statement.

Pellegrini, 62, said: "Before we finish I will tell you that I talked with the club and I will finish my contract on the original date in June. We extended the contract one year more but with the clause that one of the club or me can not use that extended contract. So, I finish here on the original date, June 30. There has been a lot of speculation about things, but they (the club) are not doing anything behind me.

"I knew this one month ago. I don't think it is good to have speculation about different things. I prefer to finish (by announcing) today - that is why I have told the press and told the players. I told the club two weeks ago that I would do it."

Pellegrini succeeded Roberto Mancini as City boss in 2013 and guided them the Premier League and League Cup success in his first season.

It is interesting that City have now revealed they tried to lure Guardiola to Eastlands four years ago when he left Barcelona.

That would have been at the end of a campaign in which Mancini oversaw City's first Premier League title win.

Guardiola instead decided to take a year's sabbatical before moving to Bayern, while City switched attention to Pellegrini.

The Chilean made a strong impact on arrival, establishing greater squad harmony as well as winning two trophies. City failed to defend their title last season but remain alive in four competitions this term.

Pellegrini has also overseen some progress in Europe having taken City to the knockout stages of the Champions League in his three seasons. They face Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Guardiola is one of the most highly-coveted coaches in Europe having won 14 trophies in four seasons at Barca and then winning two Bundesliga titles with Bayern. He announced he would be leaving Munich in December, sparking a scramble for his services.

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