Pep Guardiola has ended speculation over his future by signing a new two-year contract at Manchester City, extending what is already his longest spell in charge of a single club.
As he neared the final seven months of his existing contract, Guardiola used the international window to mull over his future and commit to staying at the Etihad Stadium until the summer of 2023 – a timeframe that would take the 49-year-old to seven years in Manchester.
“Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome in the club and in the city itself – from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the chairman and owner,” Guardiola said.
“Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success.
“Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have. I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I am humbled by the confidence the owner, chairman, Ferran (Soriano) and Txiki (Begiristain) have shown in me to continue for two more years after this season.
“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving and I am very excited about helping Manchester City do that.”
Guardiola has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and three League Cups with City, though the prize the club covets the most – the Champions League – has so far eluded them.
City have won 181 of the 245 matches in which Guardiola has taken charge, and set Premier League records en route to winning the 2017-18 Premier League title with 100 points before following up with a tally of 98 a season later.
Guardiola has twice guided City to the Premier League title (Nick Potts/PA)
However, they finished 18 points adrift of Liverpool last season as defensive problems surfaced, and have made a relatively slow start to this campaign with 12 points from the opening seven games even as Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake were brought in to address problems at the back.
Despite that drop-off, there has never been a question that City wanted Guardiola to remain in charge and chairman Khaldoon Mubarak made clear his delight as the deal was signed.
“It is testament to the qualities of the man that Pep Guardiola’s passion and intelligent approach are now woven into the very fabric of the football we play and our culture as a club,” he said.
“That impact has been central to our success during his tenure and it is why I am delighted that he shares our view that there is so much more to be achieved both on and off the field.
Could Lionel Messi play a part in Guardiola’s next chapter at City? (Nick Potts/PA)
“Pep’s contract extension is the natural next step in a journey which has evolved over many years.
“It is a product of the mutual trust and respect that exists between him and the entire club. It also goes to the stability and creativity at the heart of our football operations.
“Importantly, it is a validation of the football structure and philosophy that has been built over more than a decade and to which he has contributed so much.”
With Guardiola’s future settled, City can now shift focus on to other key decisions to be made as Sergio Aguero nears the end of his contract and transfer speculation around a move for Lionel Messi resurfaces.