Guardiola decision adds to heat on managers: Wenger

While there is room for foreigners like Pep Guardiola (left), the EPL must also create opportunities for homegrown managers, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
While there is room for foreigners like Pep Guardiola (left), the EPL must also create opportunities for homegrown managers, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

LONDON • Arsene Wenger has hit out at Pep Guardiola after Bayern Munich announced mid-season that the Spaniard will leave the German champions at the end of this campaign.

Guardiola's contract with the Bavarian giants expires in the summer and the Spaniard has ruled out staying on.

His decision has sparked a battle for his services, with the Premier League heavily tipped to be his next destination.

Various British media reports have speculated that Guardiola could succeed Arsenal manager Wenger at the Emirates.

But Manchester City appear the front-runners, with Chelsea and Manchester United also linked with the 44-year-old.

"Personally I don't like that a manager comes out so early on their plans because it's not good for their own teams and increases speculations about the managers who are going through a difficult patch," Wenger told a press conference yesterday.

One of those managers under fire is United boss Louis van Gaal, who could also be replaced - more imminently - by former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

"I do not want to get into a world of speculation, I personally have huge respect for Louis van Gaal," said the Frenchman of the busy rumour mill.

"What is going on there at the moment is disrespectful.

"This guy has worked for 30 years in football and delivered an unbelievable quality of work.

"Of course, he deserves more time," he added.

Wenger, however, is not opposed to Guardiola ultimately taking over at a Premier League club.

"I think he is of course a top-quality manager, nobody would dispute that.

"Not so much for what he has won already, because Bayern won before, Barcelona still wins today, but I think about the positive attitude he has towards the game and the fact he wants his team to play football in a positive way," he said.

"We want this league to be the best league in the world. We want as well to find the right balance.

"The Premier League wants to be the best in the world but you need 40 to 50 per cent of foreign managers but as well give some chances to local managers, like (Eddie) Howe from Bournemouth who now comes out.

"You do not want the Premier League to become exclusively for foreign managers... "

With Portuguese Mourinho axed, Dutchman van Gaal under pressure and City's Chilean Manuel Pellegrini also feeling the heat, Wenger was a picture of calm yesterday.

Arsenal have won the most points in the top flight in the calendar year.

They beat City 2-1 on Monday.

"If you look back at 2015, we have been consistent, we've had a positive year and stabilised our defensive record and improved our record against the strong teams in the Premier League," he said ahead of their trip to Southampton on Saturday.

"So it looks like we are on the right train going the right way."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'Guardiola decision adds to heat on managers: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe