Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has indicated again that he is open to staying at the club, but will assess the situation during the season.
Speaking on the eve of the new football season, the 52-year-old revealed he had spoken to the blues already, but any decision will be in the best interests of the club.
“We spoke with the club in the middle of the season, end of the season, Guardiola admitted. “We will talk again about how we feel and decide what’s best for the club.”
And the Catalan boss, who is looking to win the Premier League for the fifth time in six years, expressed his desire to stay, but that the circumstances have to be right. “I wouldn’t change my life here one second,” Guardiola said. “I said many times if they want it I’d like to stay longer but at the same time I have to be sure. It’s not the second or third season, it’s many years already and I have to see how the players behave.
And Guardiola warned of the dangers of forcing issues if the circumstances are not right. “Sometimes, when you extend things and you force it, it’s not good so we have to go through it and relax. This kind of situation happens when it’s going to happen in a natural way. If you force it it’s not going well.”
Those are wise words from the boss, who has seen other Premier League managers receive lucrative contracts for a small amount of success, only to struggle once a long-term agreement has been reached.
Can Guardiola Make It Three Successive Titles?
By the end of this season, it will be 14 years since a team won three successive league titles. Manchester United were the last team to achieve this when they won their third title in 2009, and that is what Guardiola is trying to emulate.
Since his arrival, City haven’t finished outside the top three and only a solitary league win by Liverpool has interrupted a clean sweep of five successive trophies. The club’s ultimate goal is to win the Champions League, but for Guardiola, the Premier League title remains the top priority.
And City’s refusal to accept defeat, as demonstrated against Aston Villa in the final game of last season, is proof of his desire to remain at the pinnacle of English football. He is sometimes lambasted by sections of the faithful for not making substitutions when things aren’t going to plan, but more often than not, the Catalan boss gets the key decisions right. And that will be vital going into the new season with City’s rivals for the title strengthening in key areas.
Liverpool have lost Sadio Mane but added Darwin Nunez, while Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs have all added to their previously strong squads. And, if Guardiola makes it three titles in a row against such strong opposition, there’s every chance he’ll sign a new contract to keep the success rolling in.
The Triple Champions Club
Winning the title three times in succession may be unheard of on the blues side of Manchester, but if he achieves it, Guardiola will make City only the fifth team in history to have won the league three seasons on the trot.
It was Huddersfield Town who first achieved the feat, winning the league in the 1923/24, 24/25 and 25/26 seasons, twice under manager Herbert Chapman, who then went on to take Arsenal to league glory. The Gunners won their first league title under Chapman in 1931, but then won three in succession, 1932/33, 33/34 and 34/35.
Liverpool became only the third club to win three consecutive titles, when Bob Paisley led them to two in 1981/82 and 82/83, with Joe Fagan completing the treble in 83/84.
Could little old City join the triple champions club this season?