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 have not given up hope of enticing Pep Guardiola, Football Insider sources understand.
Guardiola cancelled a press conference last Friday ahead of Bayern Munich ’s match against Hertha Berlin, amid renewed claims from Spain that he had agreed a pre-contract with Manchester City to succeed Manuel Pellegrini next season.
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.
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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 next year.
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.
Nevertheless, an Arsenal boardroom source has told Football Insider that the Bayern Munich manager remains in the club’s sights, while Chelsea and Manchester United have made serious attempts to recruit him in the past.
Bayern had hoped to announce a new Guardiola contract – his present one runs out at the end of this season – in time for the annual meeting which took place on Friday evening at the Audi Dome in Munich
However the confidence that the former Barcelona manager will sign a new deal has ebbed away a little at Bayern.
Chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has suggested he hopes to sit down with Guardiola before Christmas and the Bundesliga winter break. But Bayern are less certain the 44-year-old will stay and, if he does, it will be on a shorter-term deal.
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.
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.
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.