You can't blame Manchester City for jumping at the chance to hire Pep Guardiola as their new head coach for the 2015/16 season. The Spaniard is viewed as arguably the greatest football manager alive, and judging by his work at FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he is going to do great things in the Premier League.
Still, Man City's current manager, Manuel Pellegrini, deserves a thank you from fans and a commendation from the club for turning the Sky Blues into one of the best squads in English soccer. Since taking over at Etihad Stadium in 2013, Pellegrini has coached the football club to one Premier League title, one runner-up finish in the Premier League, and one League Cup. He's kept his win percentage right around a very respectable 64%, and could deliver yet another top-flight title for Manchester City this season. Under any other circumstances, Man City probably would have adopted the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality and kept Pellegrini around for another season or two.
The Next Steps
But Manchester City have aspirations of being a global soccer superpower, and Pep Guardiola is the man to get them there. As a result, Manuel Pellegrini is out of a job-despite having previously extended his contract with the Sky Blues until June 2017. The question is, what's next for the Chilean coach?
With both football pundits and Vegas betting odds positing Manchester City as the likely Premier League champions for the 2015/16 season, Pellegrini should have his pick of jobs for the 2016/17 campaign. After all, it's not often that a club has a chance to hire a coach that just won a title. If Pellegrini can pick up two trophies between now and the end of the season, he will even be Man City's most successful manager ever.
While that kind of Premier League success would probably make Manuel Pellegrini a hot prospect for clubs looking to move up the ladder in Spain, Germany, Italy, or France, reports indicate that the Chilean coach wants to stay in England. Indeed, statements from Manuel's agent suggest that his current top targets are other EPL heavyweights: Manchester United and Chelsea.
Chelsea or Manchester United
At Chelsea, Guus Hiddink is currently in charge on an interim basis, having replaced Jose Mourinho in December. However, Hiddink will be out come summertime, and the Blues will be looking for yet another new hire. Things have improved for Chelsea since Mourinho was sacked, but the football club will still finish far below the title-winning slot they scored last year. Hiring Pellegrini would be a safe move since the Chilean coach clearly knows how to mold a winning team in England. According to Metro, Chelsea have already extended an offer to Manuel.
As for Manchester United, if the Red Devils do sack Louis van Gaal this season-which many pundits suggest is just a matter of time-then going for Manuel would be a smart, strategic option. United were also in the market to hire Guardiola, with many in the soccer community suggesting that the formerly dominant English team would only fall further behind their crosstown rivals without him. Since Guardiola aims to bring Lionel Messi and/or other major football stars to Manchester, those suggestions might not be far off.
Still, if Man United are going to be able to compete with Manchester City, then Man City's former (and successful) coach might be a good leader. So far, rumors have pointed to Jose Mourinho, Ryan Giggs, and Diego Simeone as the most likely replacements for Van Gaal. But bringing in Pellegrini to compete against his former club might just prove to be too tempting for United to ignore.
If Manuel Pellegrini were to leave England, Valencia would probably be the most likely destination. However, with Chelsea supposedly making offers and Manchester United probably running out of patience with Louis van Gaal, the odds of Pellegrini staying in the Premier League seem pretty high.
Where would you like to see Pellegrini coach next season? Pick up a Chelsea shirt or Manchester United jersey 2015/16 at Soccer Box to root for one of his prospective new employers!