The Pep Episodes XXII

In this episode of The Pep Episodes: Rumors, rumors, rumors – and an easy win: Pep Guardiola’s week at Bayern was a typical week in autumn.

This article is part of a partnership with Grup 14, an organization dedicated to Futbol Club Barcelona and supporters around the world. The Pep Episodes is created by Alex Truica and originally published at Grup14.com.

Nobody cares much about the win, everybody cares about his future: Pep Guardiola saw his team comfortably winning against Hertha BSC (2-0), but the headlines this week had other topics (again). Is Guardiola staying or leaving?

Yes, I’m sorry. It’s the same old story over and over again. But this time the uproar was not caused by the otherwise impatient German media, but by Spanish radio station Cadena COPE. Guardiola has already decided that he would like “a change of scenery” and will succeed Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, the radio station claimed, and caused a little bit of hysteria and speculation, again.

Guardiola, as always, refused to talk about his future at a press conference, so others did the talking for him. His biographer Marti Perarnau gave an interview to Swiss Newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, talking about Guardiola’s role at Bayern. Perarnau, allegedly a close friend of the Bayern manager, was asked if he’d know if Guardiola would prolong his contract in Munich. Perarnau replied: “It is his decision; maybe he has already taken it, maybe not.” And then, Perarnau asked the reporter a question: “Why should he renew his contract? Are three years not enough?”

Boom. Since Guardiola hasn’t signed a new deal yet, and now his close ally is saying something like that, it has to mean he’ll leave in the summer, doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily. But that’s what (some) people are speculating on. “Some people” meaning those who are paid to talk or write about football.Thomas Strunz, former Bayern player and now a pundit at TV-Station Sport 1, is insistent on his belief that Pep will leave. Lothar Matthäus, former German International, is saying the same week in and week out. But are they well-informed? As much as you are.

Isaach Lluch, certainly a well-informed Catalan journalist and reporting from Säbener Straße, said that Guardiola’s future is unclear, but he doesn’t rule out staying at Bayern. Lluch even said that according to people from Guardiola’s entourage, Real Madrid have sounded them out on the possibility of signing the manager. Pep, Real Madrid. Let that sink in.

On Sunday, Guardiola went to visit a Christmas party of a Bayern fan club, and of course the members asked him about his contract. They even handed him a carte blanche employment agreement saying “you only have to add your salary and sign it.” The hall laughed, Guardiola was a little baffled initially, then he laughed too. And stated how much he likes to work in Munich and at Bayern: “The city is awesome, I love it. I’m very happy, my family is too.” Then, again, somebody asked if that would be reason enough to sign a new contract. “Yes, that would be a big reason,” Guardiola replied, finally saying something about his situation. But it was the same as always: “We will talk calmly. We will make the right decision. For the club, for me. That’s the most important thing.”

He tries to remain calm, while others can’t wait for his decision. Journalists should just be a little patient and respectful. As the last days and months have shown, it’s very unlikely that Guardiola will get those.

The Pep Episodes is a weekly column about the adventures of Pep Guardiola in Munich exclusively written for Grup14 by Alex Truica, a freelance sports journalist and editor. You can follow him on Twitter.

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