Not many expected Pep Guardiola to last eight years at Manchester City when he took over in 2016. The Catalan boss elected to go on a one-year break from the game after four demanding but successful years at Barcelona. With the stakes so high at the Etihad Stadium, staying for a long time is not expected as had been the case with recent managers preceding him.
But it’s now eight years and the 53-year-old is still going strong. Although his contract is set to expire in the summer of 2025, he may well consider extending it. Apart from his first year at the club when he struggled to find his feet in the English game, his time at City has been a hugely successful.
City has grown in leaps and bounds under the manager and has now become a genuine European royalty. Although much of the credit will go to the club’s hierarchy and the directors who run the show behind the scene and make the big decisions, the manager’s football acumen and excellence of execution on the pitch has been second to none.
Both parties have worked so seamlessly together producing impeccable results that extending his stay is the natural thing to do.
But it remains to be seen how much Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season will affect Guardiola’s decision. Will he choose to extend with City or head for the exit door?
The Catalan boss is no stranger to taking time away to cool off after working under enormous pressure for an extended period of time. With Klopp giving that as the main reason he’s stepping down at the end of the campaign, that may influence Guardiola to follow suit.
He acknowledged the need to take a break from the game in his reaction to Klopp’s announcement, stating thus: “He loves the game, still on the touchline you see the passion he has but it is nine years at the same place. The demand is so high. I didn’t speak with Jurgen but maybe he needs to take a break and a step back and a perspective for everything.”
Unlike Klopp, however, Guardiola is having a good time at City. He has stated several times that he will leave once he feels he is no longer connecting with the players or the results are not good enough.
Currently, the players are still fully in support of him, well motivated and raring to achieve even more under his leadership. Working closely with his longtime friends from Barcelona behind the scenes, he is scarcely under negative pressure to deliver results.
All things considered, manager and club have so far been a perfect fit. Hence, the need for him to extend his stay beyond 2025 and continue building this dynasty. Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson spent 26 years at Old Trafford, while Arsene Wenger spent 22 years at Arsenal.
Guardiola may not spend that much at the Etihad Stadium, but he can definitely spend more than nine years.