Operation Guardiola

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Pep GuardiolaPA PhotosPep Guardiola enjoyed phenomenal success during his time in charge of Barcelona

‘Operazione Guardiola: Galliani Andra’ a New York’

In Thursday’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, it was reported that Milan were ready to fly out to New York for a meeting. This meeting would involve negotiations with Pep Guardiola, who is currently enjoying a sabbatical from the game, with the potential of him becoming the new coach of the Rossoneri for next season. La Repubblica also joined the speculation, citing that Milan were ready to offer Pep a four-year contract worth almost €25m. Is Operation Guardiola for real?

It didn’t take long before Adriano Galliani moved to dismiss the rumours, stating that ‘there will be no trip to New York for Guardiola’, but merely the Milan VP would be visiting the Big Apple to see his daughter. Shortly after, the pendulum swung the other way, with Guardiola’s agent Jose Maria Orobitg releasing a statement suggesting it could be a possibility.

"It is absolutely not true that Pep has rejected Milan. I often speak with them, and I can assure you that Guardiola hasn't rejected them. Everything is possible in the future. Never say never, but now is not the right time."

With rumours constantly linking him with posts in England and Italy, speculation continues to suggest a move to Milan may be realistic. However, the allure of appointing Guardiola off the back of his success at Barcelona could be deceptive. Guardiola is not a miracle worker. If he were to consider the possibility of coaching Milan he would rightfully demand heavy investment, either in the first team squad or the youth set-up. Would he be given significant funds to build a project?

Furthermore, he would arrive at San Siro without Lionel Messi. While you can’t take anything away from him as a coach, having arguably the greatest player ever in your team, along with a generation of Spaniards like no other before them, it certainly makes the task a lot easier. Daniele Bonera is not Gerard Pique, and Kevin Constant isn't quite on the same level as Andres Iniesta.

Recent history also suggests it would be a huge gamble for the Catalonia native to take. Former team-mate Luis Enrique endured an overall miserable tenure at Roma attempting to integrate the 'Barcelona way', would Guardiola be able to successfully instil his philosophies and ideology of football on the club? It’s almost remarkable that for a coach who has won Spanish league titles, the Champions League and much more, question marks hang over his suitability for Italy.

The investment issue was also addressed this week, with Gazzetta again reporting on Friday that Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi was ready to sell a 30% stake in the club to the Qatar Investment Authority. With speculation suggesting a €250m injection into the club to both reinforce the squad and improve the stadium, Galliani was again quick to dismiss such talk.

"There are no negotiations to sell Milan shares, not with Arabian nor Russian investors. There are simply no negotiations at all."

So is Galliani just spoiling the fun for us all, or can we dream of a Rossoneri with new investment led by Guardiola next season? For now, it is just fascinating gossip, and slightly unfair on Massimiliano Allegri who is fighting for his job. However, it certainly has some quarters exceptionally excited.

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