Did leak of Pep Guardiola’s decision to leave Bayern hasten Jose Mourinho’s sacking at Chelsea?


The timing of the two events seems to be more than coincidence

Jose Mourinho was fired today from one of Europe’s most attractive football jobs. Reports leaked today that Pep Guardiola, one of the world’s most highly sought after managers, is going to leave his current club at the end of the season. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to think these two events are related.

I promise you readers that I’m not the type of man to hide from UFOs and aliens with tin foil on my head. I don’t think the government has knowledge of aliens it doesn’t share with us. I do not believe that the pharmaceutical industry withholds disease cures to increase profits on their medications. I’m a pretty well-balanced individual who isn’t prone to see conspiracies when they aren’t there.

With that being said, the coincidence that Mourinho got sacked on the same day that reports from Germany confirmed everyone’s suspicions that Pep Guardiola was going to leave Bayern is too much for me to write off as simple chance. The two events have to be related in some ways.

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At the very least, I think the news of Guardiola’s availability probably sped up Roman Abramovich’s time-table to sack Mourinho. The Russian owner had passed on numerous chances to severe ties with Mourinho over the last several weeks, but seemed to be waiting on something (or perhaps someone). I, for one, thought when Chelsea managed to advance in the Champions League that might be reason enough to let Mourinho hang around Stamford Bridge a little longer. I certainly can’t understand why a loss to Leicester City, who is at the top of the Premier League table, would have been the last straw from Abramovich.

That would seem to lend credence to the fact that it was something other than Chelsea’s most recent result that served as the tipping point to sack “the Special One.” Perhaps that something was just as simple as the cumulative effect of Chelsea’s poor play finally breaking Abramovich’s trust in Mourinho. Maybe there was some additional dressing room issue that reared its ugly head and made the change happen when it did. Or perhaps the reason Abramovich finally moved to hand Mourinho his pink slip was the potential availability of the replacement he wanted.

That’s what makes the timing of these two events so suspicious. Chelsea fans would be delighted if they could get their hands on Pep Guardiola as their next manager. He’s arguably the world’s best manager in the eyes of most football experts and he’s long been rumored to want a Premier League job. In a vacuum, certainly Chelsea would be one of the jobs that would most appeal to him. They have the resources to build the type of squad he wants and challenge for world football supremacy.

Yet still, rumors persist that Guardiola is infatuated with the idea of taking over for Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United. While Guardiola certainly hasn’t said anything to this effect publicly, I think it’s very possible he’s indicated a preference to manage United through his intermediaries. That might be a prospect that sincerely concerns Abramovich.

It’s easy to construct a scenario where Abramovich knew he was going to fire Mourinho, but wasn’t in a hurry to make a change without a replacement lined up. Then, he hears of back-channel rumors that Guardiola prefers United which discourages him a bit. In a flash, the reports surface that he is indeed going to leave Bayern in the summer which opens up the “race” for Pep. It would be entirely logical for the Chelsea owner to decide to move quicker on getting rid of Mourinho so he can pursue Guardiola more openly and fervently.

The idea behind that thinking would be that Chelsea would be free to enter into informal discussions with Guardiola in some manner immediately. That’s not to say that they’d official “tamper” with the Bayern man, but they could certainly communicate with him regularly. Guardiola might not be comfortable with this sort of courtship from a club that has an established manager, but he certainly would be open to hearing from a prominent club with a managerial opening. Abramovich can use that opening to try to woo Guardiola before United can even begin its sales pitch.

Let me be clear, I have no inside knowledge of these proceedings. I’m just providing my third-party read of how these events have transpired today. I am certainly making some inferences and drawing some of my own conclusions, but I think this is the most likely explanation of how two seismic pieces of managerial news occurred on the same day.