One of the longest running sagas in Manchester City’s recent history has ended, with the club confirming the signing of Pep Guardiola, who will arrive as the club’s new manager at the end of the season. A statement was released by the club following Manuel Pellegrini’s announcement in his press conference prior to the visit to Sunderland, announcing the arrival of the Spaniard from this summer on a three-year deal.
Guardiola has been linked with a move to City for a number of years, but most heavily during the 2012-13 season. Discussions were broken off, as acknowledged in the statement released by City, and the ex-Barcelona manager joined Bayern Munich while Pellegrini replaced the sacked Roberto Mancini at Eastlands.
Pellegrini signed a one-year contract extension last summer, throwing doubt onto a Guardiola move to The Blues when his Bayern contract ended this summer, but speculation has persisted about the future of the two men. It has been theorised that the Chilean was given a new deal by the management at City in order to ward off speculation during the 2015-16 season, although if that was the purpose, then it didn’t work.
Guardiola announced late last year that this season was to be his last at the Allianz Arena, where he has faced off against City in the Champions League a number of times since his arrival. The rumour mill span furiously, with City, Manchester United and Chelsea all presumed to be in the hunt for a manager come the end of the season.
However City, who have been the clear favourites throughout the chase, have won the battle for the successful Spaniard’s signature, and he will be greeted with a cheer by Blues fans, who have been waiting for this moment for years.
Reports about potential signings will almost certainly increase ten-fold during the remaining months of the season, as Guardiola is expected to bring in several of his own men to improve the ageing City squad. Lionel Messi and Thiago Alcantara, whom Guardiola demanded Bayern sign when he moved to Bavaria in 2013, are two of the names reportedly being lined up.