3 more years for Pep as city seek improvement

Pep Guardiola lifting the Premier League trophy after Manchester City became the first club in league history to amass 100 points. If he stays till 2021, he will spend longer managing City than he did with Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
Pep Guardiola lifting the Premier League trophy after Manchester City became the first club in league history to amass 100 points. If he stays till 2021, he will spend longer managing City than he did with Barcelona or Bayern Munich.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Guardiola extends deal to 2021; club target Jorginho and Mahrez

LONDON • Pep Guardiola on Thursday signed a new contract to commit himself to Manchester City for another three years and promptly warned the rest of English football that his intention was to make his record-breaking champions even more formidable opponents.

The Spaniard agreed a two-year extension to his present deal, which had another 12 months to run, meaning he will have until 2021 to achieve the club's ambition of lifting their maiden Champions League trophy.

"I am so happy and excited," he said. "It's a pleasure to be able to work here. I enjoy working with our players every day and we will try to do our best in the coming years.

"I will focus on the desire of my players to become a better team and every day that's what I will try to do - to improve on the pitch and improve our players. We have a young squad with an average age of 23, and we want to keep taking steps forward and maintain the levels we've achieved this season."

His decision to commit himself to a new deal means, in theory, he will spend longer managing City than he did with Barcelona or Bayern Munich should he complete the whole length.

His team won the Premier League by 19 points last season, setting a number of records in the process, and the new deal will likely make him the highest-paid manager in English football.

According to The Times, it is understood that his pay packet has increased from his previous annual salary of £15.2 million (S$27.6 million) after winning both the league and League Cup this season.

The City boardroom was equally enthused by his decision to sign on for the foreseeable future.

"Pep's contract extension is fantastic news for City," chief executive Ferran Soriano said.

"We have all been privileged to witness how we have played beautiful football, won titles, broken records and reached the incredible mark of 100 Premier League points.

"Pep has shown this style can succeed in a way it has never been done before. This season has been another step of our strategic plan and the continuous effort to improve the football we play. We are very pleased with the progress."

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak also saluted Guardiola's ability to unify his squad of rising young talents and established stars.

"In his two seasons with us, he has fostered an incredible spirit within the squad and significantly contributed to our progress both on and off the field," he said.

"In doing so, he has embodied the passion and commitment we all have for the club. I am looking forward to the continued impact of his work and to fulfilling our shared ambitions in the coming seasons."

The club hierarchy is also already planning to back Guardiola in the summer transfer market.

A move for Napoli midfielder Jorginho could be concluded in the next couple of weeks, with his agent set to fly to Italy next week to begin discussions about a potential £52 million City deal.

Guardiola also plans to sign a forward, with Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez a longstanding target.

"We need one or two pieces maximum. The players deserve trust in them and we are going to try it," he added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2018, with the headline '3 more years for Pep as city seek improvement'. Print Edition | Subscribe