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Pep Guardiola to take over NYCFC?

Graeme Bailey reports that the celebrated manager is expected to stay with Manchester City until 2026, then could move to New York.

He knows the system | Photograph courtesy Кирилл Крыжановский

Sometimes a throw-away line in an article catches your eye.

For example, in the fifth paragraph of Graeme Bailey‘s piece for 90min concerning Pep Guardiola possibly signing a contract extension that will keep him in charge of Manchester City through 2026, we read that “90min further understands that City Group have made it clear to the 51-year-old that he’d have a place at New York City FC should he want it.”

You can read the full piece here.

Granted, this is doubly speculative. First, Guardiola has yet to sign a contract extension with City: He is currently under contract through the end of the 2022-2023 season, and Bailey mostly reports what City Football Group proposes. Second, the option to take over NYCFC feels more like a standing offer than a contractual obligation: It’s yours if you want it.

Still, the specificity is intriguing. Bailey could focus solely on the contract negations and expected timeframe, but it brings up Guardiola’s “widely known” interest in returning to the United States – the manager had a gap year in 2013 living as a private citizen in New York City, and was known to kick around the ball with his children in Central Park – before outright naming NYCFC. 

The possibility of Guardiola taking over NYCFC has been floated by 90min before. Last December, the publication wrote that it was already “mapped out” that Guardiola will become the head coach of New York City.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in New York City during my career. It’s a city I love deeply and over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand New Yorkers’ passion for football,” Guardiola was quoted as saying in the piece. “Young people want to play and need a place to play. The fact that there are now 50 new football pitches throughout New York City because of NYCFC and our group is amazing and will make a big difference in the lives of young people.”

Call it idle musings on a Tuesday in November, but this article from 90min and the news that our own Andrew Leigh broke yesterday that the Queens Borough President says a stadium announcement is forthcoming has us thinking thoughts. 

What if Guardiola signs an extension with Manchester City, then leaves after the 2025-2026 season to take over NYCFC in 2027 — just in time to inaugurate the club’s new stadium in Willets Point? A convergence like that comes once in a lifetime: A new stadium, a new coach, and suddenly the eyes of the entire footballing world will be on Queens.

Sounds good to us.