While Manchester City and Chelsea were busy squabbling in the corner, Bayern Munich snuck into the room and stole their thunder (Arsenal just stood and watched). Pep Guardiola's decision to join the German giants is not only a huge blow to the English clubs, but also in keeping with the coach he presents himself as. talkSPORT explain why Bayern Munich, not Arsenal, Chelsea or City, was the natural choice for the former Barca boss...
More than Chelsea, more than Manchester City, and more than Arsenal, Bayern Munich know how to keep the ball. Bastian Scweinsteiger can happily dictate play in his role as a central midfielder, Holger Badstuber creates play from the back, while Toni Kroos and Javi Martinez are both more than comfortable in possession. A shift towards a more possession-based style from Bayern over the last few years means that this season, with 63 per cent of possession on average per game, they are second only to Barcelona (68.8 per cent) in the possession tables across the top five leagues in Europe. Likewise, with 87.6 per cent of their passes successful this season, Bayern are second only to Barcelona, with 89.7 per cent. Of course, if keeping the ball is important, in Xavi Hernandez, Pep Guardiola had the perfect man. It's no surprise then that with 95.3 per cent pass completion Xavi Hernandez has the highest across the top five leagues in Europe this season, but who comes second? Bayern's Holger Badstuber, with 93.1 per cent, only fractionally behind. The transition from Barcelona to Bayern in terms of style will be as pain free as possible for Guardiola.
Bayern's passing football will suit Guardiola perfectly...
In bringing three European Cups to Barcelona (one as a player, two as a coach), Pep Guardiola became a part of the club's history, something he was very much aware of. At Bayern, a club with four European Cups to their name, Pep is joining a side with an even greater European history than Barca, and the Germans are well capable of claiming their fifth (or possibly sixth) triumph under his management. Arsenal, for all their domestic glory, have no triumphs in Europe's premier competition, nor do Manchester City. Chelsea only won their first last year. Put simply, in terms of the historical European elite, the three English clubs cannot compare to the German giants.
Chelsea, City and Arsenal simply cannot compete with Bayern's European history...
The Premier League may be the best product in football, but there's a strong argument to suggest it can no longer claim to be the best league. In Guardiola's Spain, that's certainly the way many see it, and the recent FIFA World XI suggests that coaches, players and journalists alike agree, with no English players in the team. The Bundesliga couldn't lay claim to a star in the World XI either, but there's no doubt that momentum is in its favour, with a German national side featuring many Bundesliga stars continuing to be ranked as favourites for major tournaments behind only Spain. In going to the Bundesliga, Guardiola brings an extra level of publicity to the league, something which could speed up its process of growth, which is already in full swing. In 2008, the Bundesliga lay fifth in UEFA's rankings of domestic leagues, with their 48.7 points placing them behind fourth place Ligue 1 (with 52) and miles away from the first-placed Premier League, with 75. In 2013, the same ranking system places the Bundesliga in third with 75 points, only two points behind the Premier League (on 77 points in second). The gap is closing and Guardiola, a man who has made a career out of his foresight, will know that.
Guardiola was nurtured, won trophies as a player and then excelled as a manager at a club run and owned by its supporters. Bayern Munich, likewise, are a fan owned club. Rich owners who like to interfere in a manager's business like Roman Abramovich, or a club more interested in turning over a profit than winning trophies like Arsenal, are completely alien to him. Much was made of Manchester City's hiring of Txiki Begiristain as a way of luring Guardiola to the Etihad, but in actual fact, as talkSPORT detailed here, plenty of the signings made when Begiristain and Guardiola worked together were failures. There's a strong argument to suggest Guardiola doesn't work as well with his former colleague as many assume, so could it have proved dissuasive, rather than persuasive? Put simply, Bayern is a well run club with a familiar environment for a coach making a potentially career-defining decision and, if rumours are to be believed, he could be bringing his close friend and legendary striker Raul in as his number two, drawing on his experience in Germany with Schalke. It's a no brainer. Sorry Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City fans, but you should have seen this coming.
Do you agree? Is Bayern Munich the more logical choice, rather than City, Arsenal or Chelsea for Pep Guardiola? Let us know below...