Pep Guardiola signs new two-year contract at Man City to end uncertainty over his future – and he hails the club’s ‘support’ for him as attention turns to January and a move for Lionel Messi
- Pep Guardiola’s current deal at Manchester City only had seven months left on it
- The Catalan boss moved to end the speculation during the international break
- The news raises the prospect of this being Guardiola’s final job in club football
- It also suggests that City could reignite their interest in Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
The Catalan’s existing deal only had seven months left to run and persistent speculation over his next move threatened to overshadow City’s season.
Guardiola moved to resolve the situation over the international break, however, and definitively came to the conclusion that he wanted to remain at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola has committed his long-term future to Manchester City by agreeing a new deal
It ends constant speculation over his next move that threatened to overshadow City’s season
HOW SPORTSMAIL BROKE THE STORY
Sportsmail broke the news of Pep Guardiola’s new contract this morning, with Jack Gaughan’s exclusive story leading the way.
Guardiola’s future had been shrouded in mystery for months before today’s report, published at 11.55am, revealed that an agreement had been reached.
City later confirmed Guardiola had signed a new two-year contract, confirming the story.
The fortnight away from Premier League football was the only clean break he will have until March and reaching a decision on whether to stay or call time on his association with the club was of paramount importance.
And Sportsmail broke the news that Guardiola had approved a contract extension that has taken him up to the 2021-22 season.
That would represent at least six years in charge of City – considerably longer than had been expected when the former Barcelona manager arrived from Bayern Munich in 2016.
Speaking to the club’s website after they confirmed the deal, Guardiola said: ‘Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome in the Club and in the city itself- from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the Chairman and Owner. Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success.
‘Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have. I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I am humbled by the confidence the Owner, Chairman, Ferran and Txiki have shown in me to continue for two more years after this season.
‘The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving, and I am very excited and about helping Manchester City do that.’
City were desperate for the 49-year-old to continue in the job and had afforded him the necessary time to deliberate the decision with his family. That the answer has come in November serves as a significant fillip for planning purposes and eradicates any lingering uncertainty.
Chairman Khaldoon Mubarak added: ‘It is testament to the qualities of the man that Pep Guardiola’s passion and intelligent approach are now woven into the very fabric of the football we play and our culture as Club.
Guardiola moved to resolve the situation over the international break and decided to stay put
‘Pep’s contract extension is the natural next step in a journey which has evolved over many years.’
Guardiola has won six major trophies at the helm – including consecutive league titles in 2018 and 2019 – and wants to wrestle back the top spot from last year’s champions Liverpool.
The biggest task ahead is to go beyond the quarter-finals in the Champions League, a hurdle City have fallen at in each of the past three seasons. The 3-1 defeat by unfancied Lyon in August hurt the players and coaching staff, with a steely determination now inbuilt to prove their detractors wrong.
Guardiola’s decision came quickly, with sources telling Sportsmail as recently as last week that the club were in the dark over his thoughts.
The news raises the prospect of this being Guardiola’s final job in club management before moving on to the international scene.
If he stays until 2022, it would represent his longest stint as boss of a single club in his career
He has won six major trophies at City, including back-to-back league titles in 2018 and 2019
It also suggests that City could reignite their interest in Barcelona’s Lionel Messi as soon as January. The forward was unhappy that disagreements surrounding the wording of his contract blocked a switch to the North West during the summer and wants to leave the Nou Camp.
Messi will have only six months remaining in the New Year and is free to negotiate a free transfer with foreign clubs. City may, however, see January as an opportunity to thrash out a fee for the 33-year-old given Barcelona are taking young central defender Eric Garcia back to Spain.
Guardiola was pleased with the recent defensive reinforcements in the shape of Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias, although he is still hopeful of a further freshening up of his squad. A left back remains on the agenda, although that has been dependent on another leaving, with Aleks Zinchenko seemingly the most likely to depart.
The news about Guardiola suggests City could reignite their interest in Lionel Messi
Messi will have only six months left in January and will be free to negotiate with foreign clubs
City may eye January to thrash out a fee given Barcelona are taking Eric Garcia to Spain