Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed he will move to the Premier League this summer but insists he has not yet decided which of several English clubs to join.
Manchester City are the hot favourites to hire the Spaniard, whose wide-ranging and sustained success at Bayern and Barcelona has made him the world’s most sought-after coach.
Guardiola, 44, has also been linked with Manchester United, whose manager Louis van Gaal has come under pressure this term, Chelsea, where Roman Abramovich is said to be a big admirer, and Arsenal.
“The reason not to renew my contract with Bayern Munich, is very simple: I want to train in England’s Premier League,” he said on Tuesday.
“I have several offers, but have not yet committed myself. When I have a new club, the club will communicate that. At the moment, I can’t say anything else because nothing is fixed.
“I need at this moment in my career a new challenge. If I were 60 or 65 I would have stayed, but I think I am too young.”
Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Guardiola made his name in management at the Catalan club, who he led to 14 trophies in four years, including two Champions Leagues and three Spanish top-flight titles.
He continued that success at Bayern, where he has so far won five trophies, including consecutive Bundesliga titles, since joining in 2013 after resisting overtures from top Premier League clubs.
City are long-term admirers of Guardiola and, as well as the deep pockets of their Abu Dhabi-based owners, can boast first-rate infrastructure and two former Barca directors in Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain.
Speculation has swelled in recent months that City had won the race for him, though his public insistence that he remains on the market will encourage his supporters at United and Chelsea in particular.
United manager Van Gaal appears on thin ice having suffered a group-stage elimination in the Champions League, while Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink is on a short-term deal for the rest of the campaign only.
Arsenal are unlikely to dispense with the long-serving Arsene Wenger, having seen him return them to the top of the Premier League. Wenger’s contract runs until summer 2017.