By Editor Wayne Veysey
Bayern Munich want to seal a new contract agreement with Pep Guardiola by Christmas, Football Insider sources understand.
The German giants have set an internal deadline to agree an extension with their manager before they take steps to secure an alternative.
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Bayern chiefs are concerned that Guardiola has refused to deviate from his non-committal public stance about extending his contract beyond next summer, when it is due to expire.
This has given hope to the Spaniard’s legion of admirers in boardrooms at Europe’s biggest clubs that he could be available at the end of the season.
Sources have told Football Insider that Guardiola is keen to manage in the Premier League, with Arsenal top of his wish-list ahead of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Representatives of Guardiola have let it be known to the north London club that he would be very keen to be considered for the manager’s job if it was to become available next year.
Arsene Wenger’s contract formally expires in 2017 but there remains the possibility that he could quit next summer if Arsenal once again fall short in the leading competitions.
Guardiola’s Bayern team lost their first match of the season on Tuesday, when Arsenal defeated them 2-0 in a Champions League group match at Emirates Stadium, but they will look to extend their Bundesliga-record start to the season this weekend.
The 44-year-old is greatly admired by the Bayern hierarchy but they do not want to go into the second half of the season with doubts surrounding the identity of the manager next season and the Guardiola contract issue still up in the air.
Carlo Ancelotti, who has said he will return to management next year when he finishes his sabbatical, has been mentioned as one possible successor to Guardiola, who will not only be in the frame for leading posts in England, but also at Continental giants like AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain if he does not extend his deal with the German giants.
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Guardiola snubbed the opportunity to discuss the Manchester United post in the Spring of 2013, when he had already informally agreed to join Bayern Munich.
Guardiola’s next job is likely to be determined by timing and which positions are available.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has sounded out the 44-year-old on a number of occasions but Guardiola has strong reservations about taking a job where the manager’s position is so insecure.
Ex-Barcelona chiefs Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain are on the board at City, where Manuel Pellegrini’s position is in doubt in the medium and long-term, while Louis van Gaal is not yet halfway through a three-year United deal.
Of the English elite who could be searching for a new manager, Arsenal have the history, prestige and stability that only United can beat and there is a real possibility that Wenger’s reign could come to an end next summer.