Pep ponders extended stay at City's helm

LONDON • Pep Guardiola is considering whether to remain at Manchester City for longer than the three years he envisaged after encouraging talks with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, the club'' chairman.

The Times has learnt that Al Mubarak met the manager on Saturday after the 2-2 draw at home with Tottenham Hotspur.

During the meeting, Al Mubarak is said to have given his full backing to Guardiola, who insisted that he is more determined than ever to bring silverware to City, who are fifth in the Premier League.

The Catalan conceded, however, that it may take longer than he expected to build a squad that is capable of challenging for the Champions League trophy on a regular basis, as he did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Consequently, he could end up staying beyond his present deal, which expires in the summer of 2019.

In Guardiola's eyes, the purchase of nine players last summer, at a cost of almost £169 million (S$301 million), is the first step in a long-term rebuilding process that could take at least another two years.

Willy Caballero, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas and Yaya Toure are yet to be offered new deals and are expected to leave the club in the summer.

City will also try to sell Samir Nasri, Joe Hart, Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony, who are all out on loan.

Guardiola wants to sign two full-backs, a centre-back, a midfielder and a forward.

Bayern Munich defender Juan Bernat, Valencia full-back Jose Gaya, Southampton's Virgil van Dijk and Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin are among his targets.

City also remain interested in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Borussia Dortmund striker.

Gabriel Jesus, the £27-million (S$48 million) forward, is almost certain to be City's only signing this month.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'Pep ponders extended stay at City's helm'. Print Edition | Subscribe