Big Summer Ahead for City as Guardiola Enters Final Year of Contract
By Guest writer, Tue 28 January 2020 10:28
Everyone has resigned themselves to the fact that Liverpool are going to win the Premier League this season. Most felt that way before the turn of the New Year. Even Pep Guardiola has admitted that he is now focusing on finishing in second place and is not concerned about what Liverpool are doing.
As the teams took to the field for the fourth round of the FA Cup in February, the gap between the Reds and the Sky Blues in the League was the same as between 1st and 12th place in Spain’s La Liga and 1st and 10th in the German Bundesliga. It would take a collapse of monumental proportions from the Merseyside club for City to retain their title. And as much as City fans would love to see that, it’s not going to happen.
Champions League focus
Attention will now turn to the cup competitions with the Champions League taking priority. Guardiola has not won the trophy for nine years. And his failure to do so is often used as a stick to beat him with. There is no doubt it is the prize he covets most. And it’s the one that City fans now desire most too, having savoured the taste of league success repeatedly. The top football betting sites have the Citizens as favourites to win the trophy ahead of reigning champions Liverpool.
Summer strategy vital
Whatever silverware this season brings, there is a question of what will happen in the summer. City’s failure to replace Vincent Kompany has cost them this term. Therefore, smart recruitment will be vital in the close season. And then there is the question of Guardiola’s future. The coach’s contract expires in 2021 and there is no guarantee he will renew it - there is even some speculation that his contract could even allow him to leave early.
Possible final season for Pep
Guardiola’s final seasons at previous clubs have always been his least successful. The combination of familiarity and knowing a change is coming can cause a loss of focus amongst players and coaching staff. And the intensity of working under a hard-pressing coach can also take its toll. If Guardiola is to leave, City will want to avoid a similar situation and ensure that the Catalan finishes on a high, while also planning for a future without him. And that’s no easy task.
Another rebuild needed
City were relatively frugal in the last couple of transfer windows and need another round of restructuring. There is the question of replacing Kompany. David Silva is approaching the end of his contract. Fernandinho will be 35 before the end of the season. And Sergio Aguero will be 32 this summer. City need to start thinking about a long-term replacement for some of their top names.
Could Pep stay?
Whether Guardiola will have the appetite to rebuild a team he knows he is going to be leaving remains to be seen. But he will have a whole season to work with them before he departs and may even be tempted to stay if he likes what he sees. The Spanish boss has previously stated that he is open to signing a new deal as he feels comfortable at the club. However, he is not one to make snap decisions and the status of his relationship with staff and players next season will be key.
Hopefully, this season will yield more silverware for City. A Champions League would certainly help compensate for missing out on the league. But it is what happens away from the field of play this summer that could prove most vital in shaping the club’s long-term future.