Sunday, 2 August 2015
Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola needs to clarify future with City lurking
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola remains stoically non-committal over his future with the German champions, despite his deal having just one more season to run.
The Catalan continued to stonewall polite enquiries about his plans ahead of German football's curtain-raiser as Bayern suffered their third consecutive Super Cup defeat under Guardiola, this time at the hands of Wolfsburg.
"I haven't yet decided what is best for this club -- and I want to do my best for this club. I haven't made a decision yet," he insisted.
The coach continued: "Listen, I will never become a problem for Bayern Munich. When I have the feeling that I'm becoming a burden to the club, another coach will come in. Perhaps they aren't willing to wait for me any longer, okay, it's not a problem. I will never become a problem for FC Bayern."
On the eve of the new season, as speculation continues to grow, that's hardly a declaration of undying love and affection from Pep to his paymasters.
In reality, chairman of the board Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is probably already coming to terms with life after Pep. While still insisting that every effort will be made to renew Guardiola's contract, KHR has recently changed tack, stating that "the world wouldn't end," if the 44-year-old coach didn't extend his stay in Bavaria beyond next summer.
However, until Guardiola lays his cards on the table, the rumours will continue to gather pace. England has long been mooted as his favoured destination, with the Manchester clubs seemingly heading the running.
City would appear to be the frontrunners with current boss Manuel Pellegrini under pressure following last season's disappointing campaign.
The deposed champions of England are said to be desperate to land Guardiola and a bumper pay-day is in the offing. But don't rule out fallen giants Manchester United when the time comes to replace former Bayern coach Louis van Gaal.
Where does this leave Bayern Munich as Pep refuses to commit himself to the club? While Bayern will remain unstoppable in the Bundesliga and almost certainly claim an unprecedented fourth title in a row, the Holy Grail remains the Champions League. Success in Europe is pivotal for both Bayern and Guardiola.
Certainly, some added bite was needed in the engine room after two consecutive semifinal defeats at the hands of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. The signing of Arturo Vidal to bolster midfield was a signal to the rest of Europe that Bayern want to take the next step in the Champions League.
Let's consider the effect of the announcement in 2013 that Jupp Heynckes would step aside for Guardiola. That revelation gave the players clarity, removed any uncertainty and potential alibis for poor performances, giving a reinvigorated squad added impetus and focus. It was drastically needed in 2012 after Bayern finished second to Borussia Dortmund and lost the Champions League to Chelsea on home soil.
Bayern ended up with a historic treble in 2013, cruising imperiously to the Bundesliga title by 25 points and winning the Champions League at Wembley against rivals Dortmund.
All in all, it represented the perfect departing gift for the much-respected Heynckes -- and plenty to live up to for Pep.
Irrespective of whether he is staying or going, such a statement from Guardiola can give Bayern a similar shot in the arm. Clarity as to Pep's future can free him and his side up as they aim to make it third time lucky in the big one, the Champions League.
The Catalan needs to put an end to the speculation and provide some clarity in coming weeks, or it could prove a damaging elephant in the room.