By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal still believe they are firmly in the race to capture Pep Guardiola, Football Insider sources understand.
Bayern Munich confirmed on Sunday that the world’s most in-demand manager has decided to end his three-year association with the club, and will be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti next summer.
An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the Gunners have asked to be kept informed about Guardiola’s situation.
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Manchester City are the favourites to land Guardiola as they press ahead with plans to install him as their new manager next summer as a replacement for Manuel Pellegrini.
City chiefs have offered Pep Guardiola a deal to make him the world’s best-paid manager and are increasingly confident he will accept.
However, a senior City source has told Football Insider that Guardiola has not put pen to paper on an agreement, to give encouragement to the Spaniard’s other suitors.
Earlier this season, representatives of Guardiola let it be known to Arsenal that he would be very keen to be considered for the manager’s job if it was to become available.
That situation remains unchanged, with the 44-year-old Spaniard still in the north London club’s sights.
Arsene Wenger’s contract formally expires in 2017 but there remains the possibility that he could quit next summer if the Londoners once again fall short in the leading competitions.
The difficulty for the Arsenal board is that, because Wenger will be allowed to quit on his own terms, they are not in a position to offer Guardiola the manager’s job or even give a firm indication when it will be available.
Guardiola has made it clear to friends that he wants to manage in the Premier League when he leaves Bayern and his next job is likely to be determined by timing and which positions are available.
He has long been linked with City partly because the club’s hierarchy, chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain, previously worked at Barcelona.
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Guardiola snubbed the opportunity to discuss the United post in the Spring of 2013, when he had already informally agreed to join Bayern. United could be keen again, with Louis van Gaal’s position under growing threat after the club’s hierarchy held talks over the weekend.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has sounded out the 44-year-old on a number of occasions but Guardiola has told the west Londoners that he does not want to take a job where the manager’s position is so insecure.
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.