Where Will Pep Go?

/div>

The man who led Barcelona to countless Primera Liga, World Club Cup and Champions League titles (ok, so you can probably count them but I don’t have time!) is back on the job-hunt after a self-enforced year out.

He’s spent the last year fending off jobs from his New York penthouse, whilst meeting with the great and good of the game at various moments, just to ensure that his face is still there or thereabouts when a top job comes up!

He ruled himself out of the Brazil national side manager role last week, saying that it should be a Brazilian, and now further details have emerged of his wish to manage in England. He told the press that “As a player I couldn’t realise my dream to play there [in England]. But I hope in the future, I have a challenge to be a coach or a manager there.”

“I’ve always found English football very fascinating, just for the environment, the crowd and the supporters. The support of the home team is amazing. In Italy, Latin people will support you when they are playing and when you lose, they kill you. In England, I’m always surprised that people always support everything and that is nice. That’s why, maybe, I hope to have the challenge or the opportunity to train there.”

But, if he does come to England, where will he end up? We look at the key options…

ARSENAL
With fans ranting and raving at the lack of competitiveness in the Arsenal ranks, with the board finally listen to the baying mob and chuck Arsene Wenger out on his ear? Probably not, but you never know. The bigger question is whether Guardiola would accept the challenge of trying to re-energise a team that has struggled in recent years, and can’t keep hold of it’s top players, when there are so many other options available for him. If you were given the option on Champ Man of taking a role with hardly any ‘top, top’ players and hardly any money, would you take it over a job where you cna spend millions and millions without raising an eyebrow from the owner…? Chances of it happening? 15/1

MAN UTD
Sir Alex Ferguson has been having clandestine meetings with Guardiola, if the red-tops are to be believed. Has he decided that his run is coming to an end, and trying to get the best man to take over his young United side? If I was David Gill (the man who must make the decision) I’d be looking at either installing Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho at United – no other managers are worthy of the role. If Pep is available now, and Lord ferg is happy to bow out, this could be great timing. The only problem is that it probably isn’t the right time for Fergie to go – he is in the process of building another team for the future with the likes of Kagawa, Evans, Cleverley, Welbeck, Rafael, De gea, etc, and might want to see it develop further before he passes on the baton… Chances of it happening? 10/1

MAN CITY
Much will depend on whether Roberto Mancini manages to win the Premier League again this season. After two disasterous attempts at the Champions League (arguably the Sheik’s favourite trophy, and certainly the most globally reknown), it might be time for Roberto to be given the heave-ho. If he wins the league there is still a slim chance that Roberto will be kept on, but the fact that he was talking to other clubs last year, and continues to fall out with his best players, whilst struggling to get results should push the Sheik into action. Will Guardiola take over? Two of the Barca board who installed him in his first managerial role at the club that is more than a club are now managing the pennies at Man City, so you would have thought communication channels were opened a long time ago. Pep would be given the opportunity to spend, as well as mould City into one of the nicest football-playing teams around. Chances of it happening? 3/1

CHELSEA
Rafa Benitez was only given an interim contract to start with, and the fact that so many fans continue to rail against him, in spite of some very big wins, suggests that he is still far from being accepted at Stamford Bridge. If he manages to get Chelsea over the line in 4th spot, and in the Champions League next year, there is a chance that he will be offered a new deal, especially if he manages to get more out of a misfiring Fernando Torres, who Abramovich seems keen to turn into a success after the Shevchenko shenanigans. More likely, Rafa will be chucked out, and Chelsea will be looking for a new man. Mourinho is also likely to be available, so the club will be forced to pick between the Special One who got them where they are in the first place, and the man who gets his teams playing infiniteley nicer football… Decisions, decisions. Chances of it happening? 2/1

Just so its on record, here’s how I see it panning out – Arsenal will stick with Arsene. Fergie will retire and Mourinho will reject Chelsea and join United instead (possibly even taking a year out as a career break if Fergie takes longer). Pep will go to City. Chelsea will be left to settle – for one of Mancini, Hiddink or someone else (but probably not Benitez).

Agree? Disagree? Tweet me – @ftbllr