Pep Guardiola contract admission could give Man City the title motivation they need next season
Pep Guardiola says he won't discuss a new contract until after what could be his final game in charge of Manchester City.
Guardiola is out of contract at the end of the 2022/23 season, and has given positive hints in recent months about staying 'for the next ten years'. He regularly leaps to the defence of the club and his bosses, with whom he has a positive working relationship, with everyone on the same page.
Without Guardiola, City wouldn't have three Premier League titles in the last four years, and they wouldn't be closer to Champions League glory than they have ever been before. Fans would jump at the chance to have Guardiola at the club past next summer, but it could be a shrewd move from the boss to press pause on talk of any extensions.
Liverpool extended Jurgen Klopp's contract this week in relatively quiet fashion, ensuring there was no long saga over his future so they can focus purely on toppling City at the top of the table. When City have extended Guardiola's deal in the past, it has been done quietly, behind the scenes, and announced in good time.
Fans might have been hopeful that there would be similar news this summer or early next season, but Guardiola seemingly dismissed that on Thursday.
"If I extend the contract, it will be at the end of the next season. Before that is not going to happen," he said.
"It is many years and I have to see how the team and ourselves are together. Knowing and saying I would stay for 10 more years but we have to take time for that. It is not the time for that in this season or during the next season."
Guardiola and City have such a strong relationship that this arrangement wouldn't be taken by either side as reason to worry. If anything, it only strengthens that trust. Guardiola knows, and regularly reminds reporters, that even someone like him is only a few bad results from the sack.
Say City have a bad start and look like they won't secure Champions League football for 2023/24 - then City may have a decision to make. Or should he get to the end of the season and there is no Premier League or Champions League in the trophy cabinet, will he have taken City as far as he can?
The manager spoke of taking a rest after he eventually leaves City recently, and has also talked up the idea of managing a national team before he calls time on his coaching career. City, and fans, can be confident that he wouldn't move elsewhere int the Premier League if he did leave the Etihad.
So instead, supporters should trust the man who's taken them higher than ever before. If delaying a decision on his future is right for him, then it will be right for the team. Maybe it will give his side the motivation to push on once again for league and European titles.
With a team that has been together for so long, finding the small gains to get over the line in the Champions League must be incredibly difficult, and even more tough to implement. If it is the motivation of next season potentially being the last chance to win silverware with Guardiola, then postponing those contract talks could have a wider benefit.
He'll just have to accept that he will face another 12 months of questions about his future. It might be a price worth paying if City find the extra level they need under Guardiola in 2023.