Guardiola and United a perfect fit, says Gary Lim
Spaniard is the perfect coach to transform 'boring' Devils
The impending availability of Pep Guardiola has triggered football's equivalent of a gold rush.
The 44-year-old is the doyen of his trade. He is seen as the foolproof managerial appointment, if ever there was one.
He breathes the game in its unadulterated state, then exhales it in the form of pure attacking football.
This is why Guardiola and Manchester United are a perfect fit.
These days, the Theatre of Dreams is reduced to a theatre of memories.
United rue the day they picked steel over silk.
Incumbent Louis van Gaal didn't hesitate to destroy a philosophy honed over decades.
He tore apart their attacking beliefs and instructed his charges to conform to his pragmatism.
Guardiola, who is expected to announce soon whether he will extend his stay or leave Bayern Munich when his contract expires at the end of the season, can restore their respectability.
He boasts a solid track record, espouses the same attacking doctrine and has always been clear about his direction.
At Barcelona, he brought the energetic high-pressing game back into vogue, a system which Juergen Klopp later adapted for his highly successful Borussia Dortmund side.
Guardiola guarantees a style of football, and results. But he will also be spoilt for choice.
The world's biggest clubs are frantically lining up to seek an audience with the man they think will lead them to the promised land.
Manchester City are reportedly the front-runners for his signature should he, as expected, decline Bayern's offer of a contract extension.
The presence of chief executive Ferran Soriano and the director of football Txiki Begiristain at the Etihad Stadium, both of whom he worked with at Barcelona, will work in their favour.
Bankrolled by their Abu Dhabi owners, the club have long indicated an ambition to be more than a domestic force.
They want Guardiola to take them to another level, where they can wield influence in the Champions League.
Chelsea, too, will be keeping the target within sight, especially after they parted ways with their own manager Jose Mourinho yesterday.
A shocking dip in form this season is why the defending champions are hovering just above the relegation zone.
Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who in fact showed remarkable patience by his standard this time round, simply couldn't put up with such mediocrity any longer.
There has always been an admiration of Guardiola in the bowels of Stamford Bridge.
They will appreciate that a prized catch like Guardiola doesn't come around very often.
A possible lack of Champions League football next season, despite their qualification for the last 16 this term, will put them at a huge disadvantage in a potential courtship.
What United can offer Guardiola, that Chelsea and Man City can't, not with any real conviction anyway, is time.
The long list of sacked managers at Chelsea, which include Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Di Matteo (sacked six months after leading them to Champions League glory in 2012) and Mourinho (twice), suggests that the club will always operate in cold, business-like fashion.
Over at Man City, Roberto Mancini was removed at the end of the 2012-13 campaign after finishing second, a year after winning the Premiership.
Pellegrini's long-term job prospects have also looked wobbly for the longest time, with Guardiola's shadow constantly looming large.
Old Trafford looks like the most conducive environment for Guardiola to embark on his next project.
They are the ones most likely to afford him time to turn things around.
But will he choose United over City and Chelsea? Stay tuned.
If the cards fall his way, his wish is to sample life at Manchester United for a variety of reasons. It'd scratch an itch, which he's had since he was a player, when he met Alex Ferguson about potentially moving there at the end of his career. Conversations broke down, Juan Sebastian Veron came and Pep went to Qatar. The move didn't happen but, when he's come back to Manchester subsequently, he's looked at the Old Trafford atmosphere, the legends and he has felt 'this is right for me'.
— Spanish football expert Graham Hunter on why Guardiola may choose Man United for his next job
It can be, but Pellegrini is experienced enough to deal with it. Maybe if it was a very young beginner, it could be destabilising, but I don't think that at his level, it will affect him
— Arsene Wenger doesn't think Manuel Pellegrini will be affected by rumours of Guardiola replacing him at Man City
PEP BY THE NUMBERS
In his six completed seasons as a top-flight coach, Pep Guardiola has won five league titles, two Champions Leagues, three domestic cups, three Club World Cups, and three European Super Cups.
He has an overall match win ratio of 74 per cent and a loss ratio of just 11 per cent.
His sides have scored a total of 978 goals, an average of 2.5 per game.
He has yet to go a single season without winning a major trophy
Pep out, Ancelotti in?
Pep Guardiola, strongly linked to a move to the Premier League, has told Bayern Munich he will be leaving the club at the end of the season, German media reported yesterday.
The Spaniard's three-year contract expires next June and Bayern's head coach has said he will announce "before Christmas" whether he will extend his stay or leave, with Manchester City among the English sides keen to secure his services.
According to German daily Bild, Guardiola gave his decision to Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge "last week", amid reports from Spain suggesting Carlo Ancelotti was poised to replace him.
"Everything points to his leaving," the paper added. Kicker suggested his departure was "an open secret".
The 44-year-old Catalan is in his third year at the helm of the Bavarian giants.
Last month, Rummenigge said that talks on his future would begin after tomorrow "to avoid any Christmas surprise, one way or the other".
Barcelona daily Sport claimed a month ago that Guardiola had already given his word to former Barca colleagues Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, now City's chief executive and director of football respectively, that he would join them at the Etihad next season.
Bild suggested Guardiola was alive to the danger of outstaying his welcome if he remained at Bayern.
"He is someone who enjoys a challenge. That's the reason why he joined Bayern in 2013," the paper said.
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon, who has close contacts throughout European football, said Guardiola will join Man City next summer and Carlo Ancelotti will replace him at Bayern Munich.
Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Calderon: "From what I know, Guardiola will move to Man City and Ancelotti will go to Bayern Munich. That is what I have been hearing.
"He (Guardiola) likes to change. He has been in Spain, he has been in Germany and it would be a good challenge to coach City.
"They have fantastic players and they have the advantage that Ferran Soriano, the general manager, and Txiki Begiristain is there. He knows them well - they were all together in Barcelona.
"Also for Ancelotti , he is a fantastic coach and he will do quite well at Bayern."
Spanish newspaper Marca also reported that Bayern want three-time Champions League-winner Ancelotti to succeed Guardiola.
"The Italian coach sealed his agreement with Bayern last week," wrote Marca on its website.
"He will sign for three seasons and the announcement will be made next week, when confirming the change on the bench at the Allianz Arena."
- Wire Services.