Pep says no thanks – what now, Abramo?

Roman Abramovich’s top choice to be the next Chelsea manager, Pep Guardiola, is heading to Munich.

Bayern Munich on Wednesday officially announced it had hired Pep Guardiola to coach next season for an undisclosed salary over three years.

Guardiola, who is the first Spanish manager of Bayern Munich since the club’s promotion to the Bundelisga in 1965, had been linked with Premier League teams Chelsea and Manchester City as well as AC Milan in the past weeks.

What happens now? If the remainder of the current season goes well and the team perhaps wins a trophy (FA Cup, anyone?), does he stick with Fat Spanish Waiter Rafa Benitez, despite the supporters’ hatred of him? Does he pick up the phone and promise his old friend Jose Mourinho that if he’ll come back he can run the squad without any meddling from the top? If not, what choices remain? Abramovich has alienated or scared off pretty much every potential candidate in the world with his insistence on “attractive football,” his constant “helping” with personnel and his impatience with managers who occasionally lose a game or two?

It will be interesting to see if Roman learns anything from l’affaire Guardiola. Chelsea has precisely the kinds of players that Pep likes. Pep has said he dreams of managing in England. Roman has chased him and is rumored to have offered him double what anyone else is paying. And STILL Pep says no. At this point, a man whose intelligence exceeds his arrogance might pause and do some soul-searching, perhaps even listening to those who keep telling him that his policy of turfing managers every couple of weeks is scaring away the good candidates.

My gut says no, Roman doesn’t learn a thing. One doesn’t become a multibillionaire oil magnate without a massive ego, and without putting too fine a point on it, he made his bones in a field that sometimes prefers strength to intellect and that perhaps undervalues the merits of reflection. (There – did I put that delicately enough?)

Time will tell. I’d love to think that this opens the door for a triumphant Mou return, but I’m not holding my breath.

Image Credit: ESPN FC

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