HomeFootballPep Guardiola enters his 'Last Dance' at Manchester City

Pep Guardiola enters his ‘Last Dance’ at Manchester City

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Going into the 1997-98 NBA season, everyone and their grandfathers knew it was the last season of that great Chicago Bulls side. Michael Jordan had already indicated that he was contemplating retirement, coach Phil Jackson only signed a year-long extension and Scottie Pippen was denied a lucrative new deal.

Chicago Bulls general manager Jerome Krause was planning a rebuild and as Jackson termed it at the start of that season, it was ‘The Last Dance’ of one of the greatest squad of players in Basketball.

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The 2020-21 season could be the ‘Last Dance’ of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side. The Spaniard has entered the final year of his contract, David Silva has left the club, Sergio Aguero also has a year left on his deal and Kevin De Bruyne seems to be feeling frustrated after missing out on the Champions League again.

Manchester City will need a rebuild soon and Guardiola is unlikely to be part of that when his contract runs out at the end of next season. By the time the 2020-21 campaign ends, the Spaniard would have spent five years at Manchester City, more than at any other club.

Pep Guardiola is likely to go into another sabbatical next year and look for a fresh challenge.

Champions League is the Holy Grail

Pep Guardiola was brought in by Manchester City in 2016 to achieve the ultimate Holy Grail – winning the Champions League.

Manchester City won the league in 2018 with 98 points and set up a record points total of 100 the next season while retaining the Premier League title. But in Europe, Manchester City have faltered, partly due to their defensive problems and also because of Guardiola overthinking his tactics.

Manchester City have been knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals for four years running.

While the club’s supporters are not enamoured about the Champions League because of the club’s tussle with UEFA, the people inside Manchester City want to win the trophy desperately.

With next season likely to be his last, it will be Pep Guardiola’s final chance to win the Champions League at Manchester City.

While two Premier League titles make him one of the greats to manage in England, not winning the Champions will irritate him and could taint his legacy at the Etihad, especially after the amount of money he has spent on his squad in the last four years.

Both Guardiola and Manchester City will want to win the Champions League over anything next season. Expect that to reflect on their transfer spending.

Pep Guardiola will have money to spend

While the quarter-final exit from the Champions League will irritate Manchester City, Pep Guardiola would like to prove that his side’s league form was an aberration last season as well.

Manchester City mounted one of the worst title defences and finished 18 points behind a brilliant Liverpool side.

Pep Guardiola’s sides are known for cracking league football due to the number of games they manage to win but it escaped them poorly in the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.

Guardiola will look to rectify that and expect Manchester City to blow out the competition in the market. They have already spent big bucks on Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres and Manchester City are in talks to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli.

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The Spaniard is believed to be ready to bring in as many as six new players this summer.

The Manchester City manager is obsessed about not losing control during a game and individual errors did exactly that last season.

His extra caution against Lyon was part of that obsession. He will want better players in defence and midfield so that he can keep a check on the uncontrollable parts of the game.

Who will be Manchester City’s Michael Jordan?

Phil Jackson had Michael Jordan, a leader on and off the pitch, who would not tolerate any drop in levels during his last year at Chicago Bulls. He ribbing his fellow team-mates was a highlight of the documentary. Who is Pep Guardiola’s Jordan?

Vincent Kompany was a leader of men and his absence was felt acutely last season. David Silva left at the end of the season and for the moment Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are the senior members of the squad.

Aguero doesn’t seem to be a vocal leader like Jordan was but sets his example with his goals on the pitch. De Bruyne was visibly frustrated after the Champions League exit.

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But does he seem like someone who will have a go at a team-mate if levels drop or who can be a vocal leader off the pitch? De Bruyne’s leadership shines through his performances.

Pep Guardiola’s pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly seems to be his attempts to not only bring in a top-class defender but also a strong character into his dressing room.

The Senegalese is the leader of men the Manchester City manager needs in his squad to galvanise the players. Vincent Kompany did that even when he was struggling with injuries towards the end of his time at the Etihad.

The Manchester City boss needs his Michael Jordan next season and if there is not one player of that ilk in his squad, he seems to be prepared to buy one.

Also Read: Lionel Messi: 3 next possible destinations for the Barcelona superstar

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