Why Guardiola should leave Manchester City if they win the Premier League this season

Looking back at Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement 11 years ago, the strange thing is that his decision was both unexpected and completely logical.

By 2013, Ferguson had achieved everything he could. He led Manchester United to win 20 league titles, 2 more than Liverpool. He beat every title rival United faced: Blackburn Rovers, then Newcastle United, then Arsenal, then Chelsea, then Manchester City. It was the right time, but no one stopped to consider that this might be the end of it for the 71-year-old 13-time champion.

Now, perhaps, is the perfect time for English football’s most successful manager since Ferguson to follow suit.

Guardiola will not be able to achieve anything at Manchester City if he wins the Premier League this season. It will be the club’s fourth consecutive league title – the first time in English league history that a team has won four consecutive league titles. Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United all have three wins. Four will be unique.

Not even Alex Ferguson won four consecutive league titles (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Four consecutive wins would rank alongside Guardiola’s other historic achievements in English football. He won the Premier League title with a record 100 points. He won his second “real” treble last season. Not only did he win the trophy, he won it relentlessly and in a way that had never been done before. With another title, Guardiola’s dominance of English football will effectively be complete.

What do you get by staying? Sure, it’s the fifth straight game, but that milestone isn’t as important as becoming the first team to win four games.Of course, a second European Cup would be welcome, but success would bring more prestige reserve Winning the trophy – only Real Madrid has done this in the Champions League era. Real Madrid, of course, ended City’s dreams in the quarter-finals last month.


As far as Guardiola’s legacy is concerned, there are more risks involved in staying. If Arsenal go on to become Manchester City’s main challengers next year and help them win the title, there will be some resentment among Guardiola at being beaten by his former assistant. On the other hand, if Guardiola resigned, City would collapse and Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal would triumph, which would actually reflect well on his legacy.

If someone else were to beat Guardiola to the title – such as incoming Liverpool boss Arne Slott – then perhaps he would immediately look a bit dated. Coming off a win this season, he was untouchable.

There are other aspects to consider. Beautiful football is a matter of taste – even at Barcelona’s peak, not everyone liked Guardiola’s approach to the ball. But there is a general consensus that Guardiola’s teams typically play open, attractive football and feature many creative players. He tried to take football in a different direction. It’s more based on technical and tactical aspects.

However, in the past few seasons, in order to break through the bottom line in the Champions League, he has strengthened the team’s strength, often sending four central defenders on the defensive line and sending a big battering ram in the frontcourt. It’s not quite the futuristic football he was once famous for. Five in a row, increasingly more functional, and we might get stuck in monotony.

Guardiola ended Manchester City’s chase for the Champions League title last season (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

While Guardiola has expressed confidence that his club will be cleared of 115 charges of alleged financial irregularities between 2009 and 2018, there must be part of him worried about the pressure he will face if City are found guilty. If the judgment was passed after he left, it was not his problem.

Of course, Ferguson’s resignation in 2013 was actually the second time he announced his resignation. The first time was midway through the 2001-02 season, when he announced he would leave Manchester United at the end of the season. He later admitted it was a mistake because it gave his players pause. United’s form suffered, and when they looked set for a rare trophy-less season, Ferguson reversed his decision and ended up staying at United for another 11 years.

More about Pep Guardiola

Guardiola must look at Ferguson’s experience, and Jurgen Klopp’s – who has made similar statements and is now undergoing a rather obsequious half-year farewell tour – and think that at the end of the season A sudden announcement is the best thing to do. Similar managers in English football tend to be managers at senior levels, including Ferguson and Bob Paisley, who retired after winning a sixth title with Liverpool.

The departures of Klopp and Guardiola will quickly usher in a new era of English football (Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

Guardiola has openly discussed his ambitions to coach the national team in the future, and leaving this summer would give him ample options – with two years to prepare if he so chooses – to take charge at the 2026 World Cup, which is dominated by Guardiola clearly has a certain leaning towards the United States, having spent a year off in New York while coaching Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He could choose any country in the world this summer. But next summer, just a year before the World Cup, national associations may be reluctant to make changes.

Of course, there are several reasons to stay. Guardiola clearly believes City’s environment is less stressful than Barcelona or Bayern, and Klopp has shown no clear signs of fatigue in recent months. He and his family live happily in Manchester. His salary is generous and his club will be favorites to win the title again when the 2024-25 season begins. He may also be reluctant to leave the club without an obvious replacement – in another world, Arteta might remain as his assistant and be ready to succeed him, or his former captain Vincent Kompa Ni might fare better at Burnley and become the obvious replacement.

But while Guardiola still has a year left on his contract, few at City will begrudge him leaving on his own terms. By this stage, Guardiola has seen it all, done it all, won it all. Administrators seem more concerned about their legacy than ever before.

If Guardiola is concerned about his situation, the smart move might be to quit now.


(Above: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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