Football: Building a 'pep dynasty' the aim for Manchester City

City are confident Guardiola will sign only high-end players who can make a difference and at the same time give opportunities to the club's homegrown players.
City are confident Guardiola will sign only high-end players who can make a difference and at the same time give opportunities to the club's homegrown players.PHOTO: REUTERS

The club hopes to extend deal for Guardiola, who has already targeted four major signings

LONDON • Manchester City want Pep Guardiola to stay beyond his three-year contract and build a dynasty, with the English football club confident that he will enter the best working environment of his managerial career.

However, a plan is in place should the Spaniard leave at the end of his initial term, which begins on July 1 when he leaves German outfit Bayern Munich to replace Manuel Pellegrini.

Patrick Vieira, who is in charge at New York City FC, City's sister club, is considered by the hierarchy as a candidate to take over.

The view is that as a former City player and coach in the youth structure, he understands the club and the brand of attacking football City demand.

Guardiola ended his tenure as Barcelona coach in 2012 after four years and will complete three seasons at Bayern this May. Yet, City believe he could stay for longer at the Etihad Stadium and it is understood, despite the speculation, that there is no get-out clause should City end up in the Europa League next season.

The view among senior executives at City is that Guardiola was tired of the politics at Barca and that he has had to contend with similar issues at Bayern.

On joining the Bundesliga champions, Guardiola was intent on keeping midfielder Toni Kroos, but the German was sold to Real Madrid in the summer of 2014.

The manager is targeting four major summer signings. Kroos, 26, may again be of interest to him, along with Juventus' 23-year-old midfielder Paul Pogba and two 21-year-old central defenders, Everton's John Stones and Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte.

The Catalan is also interested in Bayern's Thiago Alcantara, 24, and Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Guendogan, 25, who are midfielders.

At City, Guardiola will work again with Ferran Soriano, the chief executive, and Txiki Begiristain, the sporting director, the trio having been together at Barcelona.

Guardiola and Begiristain were former team-mates at the Catalan club and are close friends.

Begiristain has the final call on recruitment, though Guardiola will have considerable input, and the executive does not anticipate issues with this structure.

Despite Vincent Kompany's latest calf injury, the 14th of his eight years at the club, Begiristain intends to give the captain one more year to solve his fitness problems.

Even if Guardiola wanted to offload Kompany, it is Begiristain's decision and at the moment, the 29-year-old will be retained. However, should City receive a particularly high bid, Begiristain would consider it.

If Kompany stays but is unable to hold down a first-team place at City, a further option is to explore whether the Belgian would join New York City FC, though this is considered unlikely.

Jason Denayer, the 20-year-old central defender on loan at Galatasaray, was recently informed by Begiristain that he will return to Manchester for next season.

This is because of the uncertainty regarding Kompany and the disappointing form of Eliaquim Mangala. The 25-year-old cost £42 million (S$81.4 million) in 2014 but is reckoned to have underperformed and his future is in doubt.

Laporte is considered a replacement who could play instantly in the first team, though Denayer would provide competition.

Guardiola is keen to strengthen the midfield with Yaya Toure's future in doubt.

There is no issue between Toure and Guardiola despite the latter selling the Ivory Coast international to City from Barca in the summer of 2010. However, the executive is largely dismissive of Dimitri Seluk, Toure's agent.

City believe Guardiola's status as the incoming manager is providing a considerable edge regarding recruitment. There is also some confidence that the Spaniard will sign only high-end players who can make a significant difference and so will give first-team opportunities to the club's homegrown footballers.

Within five years, the hierarchy want half the senior squad to have been reared at the City Football Academy.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Building a 'pep dynasty' the aim for Man City'. Print Edition | Subscribe