One of the most stunning rumors doing the rounds is that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has struck a deal with Italian giant Juventus to take over as manager on the heels of Max Allegri’s exit. Which means that the ex-Barcelona boss could be leaving the Etihad shortly if Italian journalist Federico Gennarelli of Radio Sportiva is to be believed. Guardiola has led Manchester City to great success in this season, bagging the treble – the English Premier League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup – a feat not achieved by any English club so far. City’s most recent success has been the winning of the FA Cup where they thrashed Watford 6-0, the victory margin itself a record in the Cup’s 147-year old history.
That came after beating Chelsea on penalties in the EFL Carabao Cup final in February. The Premier League success of 2018-19 was their second in succession with the club accumulating a staggering 98 points to remain at the top of the table. Despite all the silverware, Guardiola felt incomplete with Europe’s biggest prize – the UEFA Champions League (UCL) title – eluding him. Not since the time he led Barcelona to a European title in 2011 has Guardiola been able to lay his hands on the prized silverware. This time the Citizens were eliminated narrowly in the quarter-final by Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, a repeat of last season’s elimination at the same stage by another English club, Liverpool.
One of the reasons the Catalan coach is being sought by Juventus is that the aspirations at Turin is similar to that at Etihad – earning the ultimate European glory.
That Juventus can win the Serie A every season is a given. One of the reason’s the Turin-based club lured Cristiano Ronaldo away from Real Madrid for €100 million and half-a-million pounds a week wages to the superstar to boot, was to win the UEFA Champions League. Ronaldo already had four UCL titles under his belt when he arrived in Italy. Which is why hopes in Turin ran high. But that was not to happen as Juventus were ousted in the Round of 8 by a youthful Ajax side. Much of the blame was apportioned to coach Maximo Allegri’s stewardship for it was felt that Ronaldo did his bit, scoring six out of his team’s tally of 14 goals in the UCL. For Allegri, seven straight Serie A titles haven’t earned him the kind of plaudits he deserved. Which is where Guardiola comes in.
According to reporter Gennarelli, Guardiola will give up his position at City despite having two years left for his contract to expire at the Etihad. The claim follows reports that Guardiola met with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici in Milan. Paratici was pictured in a video outside the Palazzo Parigi hotel in the city where Guardiola had put up recently.
Manchester City have never had luck in their European outings despite all their English successes. They have failed to reach the even the semi-final stage of the Champions League in all these years. Juventus’s track record at the UCL has been better, having bagged the coveted title twice and ending runners-up on seven occasions. Allegations of Financial Fair Play breaches by City and suggestions they could be handed a one-year Champions League ban by UEFA has also added fuel to the rumors of a potential Guardiola exit. Which is why the City boss may be tempted to make a move to Turin.