Pep Guardiola has doubled down on his future at Man City by insisting that he will not be returning to Barcelona, something which hasn’t stopped Rio Ferdinand making a transfer claim about the Spaniard and the Blues.
Guardiola is into the final year of his current contract at the Etihad and has been linked with a possible return to Barcelona. City bosses are keen to retain the Spaniard’s services, though they will not want the situation as it is to drag on for too long as they look to plan for the future.
Barcelona presidential hopeful Victor Font has publicly stated his intention to bring Guardiola back to the Camp No if he is elected, as well as convincing Lionel Messi to stay at the club.
Asked about his future, though, Guardiola insisted after the win over Sheffield United: “I’m incredibly happy here, delighted to be in Manchester and hopefully I can do a good job this season to stay longer.”
Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand spoke about the issue ahead of City’s Premier League clash with the Blades.
“I was never really in that position as a player. Obviously, Sir Alex Ferguson was always fully committed and heart on his sleeve in that respect,” he told BT Sport. “But Pep is a different animal, a different character.
“It’s more important, I think, about what he’s relaying to the players. I think if he’s speaking to the players and filling them with confidence, then it’s OK.
“But the big problem, I think, with the club in the wider picture will be recruitment. If they’re talking to players they want to get hold of in January or the following window, if I’m that player, I’m only coming there, really, if Pep’s there, or I want to know at least who’s next in charge before I make my decision and commit.
“So the bigger picture is probably the bigger question – but his history does suggest that he makes late decisions on his contracts and where he wants to go. Man City will probably know that and be very well aware of that. Listen, who wouldn’t want that guy in their dugout?”
Ferdinand, meanwhile, believes Guardiola could leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.
“I see him as having the type of character that if he felt he wasn’t doing what was expected of him, he would be the first to hold his hand up and walk away, and go on to pastures new,” he added. “He just seems like that type of guy.
“I think he seems quite emotional at times – and he will go with his emotion at that time. I think he’ll be brutally honest in that respect, and the City fans won’t want to hear that, because where do you go from there? But I think that’s the type of guy he is. I love him. I love everything about the way he is as a manager, if I’m honest.”
Ferdinand thinks that the pressures of the job – coupled with Guardiola’s intensity in doing it – could inform his next decision.
“I think you have to understand as well that to maintain that intensity is difficult to do,” said Ferdinand. “That’s why you look at the greats of years gone by who have stayed at clubs for many years – the Wengers, the Sir Alex Fergusons, etc.
“To do that year in, year out, with the demands put on them, as well as the demands they put on themselves from within, is something kind of difficult to comprehend. That’s why maybe a sabbatical or a change of scenery, this is what he (Guardiola) may be looking at.”