How Manchester City persuaded Pep Guardiola to join them
By James Cooper. Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 05/02/16 6:08am
Pep Guardiola will be the next manager of Manchester City but how did the club convince the best manager in the world to make them his next project?
Sky Sports News HQ reporter James Cooper has spoken to sources at the club and has pieced together how the deal materialised over four years.
He lifts the lid on which key figures at boardroom level played a crucial role and the unlimited transfer budget Guardiola will have to spend...
When did City first start pursuing Pep?
Negotiations started in 2012 between Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. At that stage he told the club he was happy to remain on sabbatical before going on to take charge at Bayern Munich. City, however, made it clear to Guardiola they intended to make him their manager at some point in the future, assuring him that he was their No 1 target.
When City realised they weren't going to get Guardiola in 2012 they moved on to Manuel Pellegrini. He was their first and only target after Guardiola - there was no plan to talk to anyone else such as Carlo Ancelotti or Diego Simeone at that stage.
During City's negotiations with Pellegrini he was made aware that Guardiola was the club's original first target and that there was a plan to try to get hold of him in the future. City believe they've always treated Pellegrini with honesty over this situation and that this stood them in good stead for the transition to come.
Pellegrini asked to be kept posted on future developments regarding Guardiola and was made aware, by the club, in January that they were looking at the Spaniard again as their next manager.
So how did they convince Guardiola to make City his next move?
The key man in successfully bringing in Guardiola to City second time around was director of football, Txiki Begiristain, a man who played and worked alongside him at Barcelona. They are close friends and, as such, are in regular contact.
Begiristain, along with City CEO Ferran Soriano, who also worked at Barcelona with Guardiola, reopened negotiations in the summer of 2015. Talks progressed to the point, in January, whereby all the legalities were agreed.
How was Pellegrini told and why was Guardiola's appointment announced on Monday?
Begiristain spoke to Pellegrini in the middle of last week to let him know that City had finally reached an agreement with Guardiola. Pellegrini then spoke with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak to talk through the club's plans and come up with a strategy of breaking the news.
Pellegrini was given plenty of options on how the news would be broken but wanted to announce it himself. As for the timing of the announcement, it was done more quickly than had been planned because Pellegrini decided to tell the players on Friday morning and the fear at the club was that the information would begin to leak out - especially after Guardiola's wife had been spotted at a school that City have links with.
What will Guardiola's transfer budget be like?
I'm told there's no ceiling on how much Guardiola will have to spend and that all his targets will be considered on their merits and impact rather than price tag.
I know that lots of figures have been bandied around relating to the 'war chest' Guardiola might have at City, but I'm told there's no ceiling on how much he'll have to spend and that all his targets will be considered on their merits and impact rather than price tag.
While I don't know if Guardiola had any input in the purchases of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Fabian Delph last summer, Begiristain will now be aware of the players that Guardiola wants to bring in this summer to add to the impressive framework he inherits.
Guardiola's purchases will have their medicals at the new Manchester Institute of Health and Performance, which opened on the Etihad Campus on Thursday.
Have City got plans beyond Pep?
City's long-term planning and strategy is clear. So is their succession planning. In truth that's borne out by the building of the City Football Academy and the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance. The New York City FC post is something of a job interview for Patrick Vieira and he is being seriously looked at as the next manager of the club after Guardiola's three years.
What next for Pellegrini?
Pellegrini is delighted that the speculation about his future has now ceased and that he's now pretty much placed an advert for his next job. He would love to manage Chile one day but believes he has at least one more club job in him.
Sky sources understand there has already been Premier League interest in him and that he would happily remain in this country for his next challenge.