It's a bold move to announce that your manager will be leaving in a few months’ time, as Manchester United found during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, but it helps when the man coming in is Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City are already a very good side and, with a four-trophy haul still a possibility, could be on the verge of a remarkable season. They are a winning horse. Add the all-conquering Guardiola to that and it’s an enviable mix, especially since some of City’s traditional rivals for supremacy in England, such as United, Chelsea and Liverpool, are far off being ready to challenge them.
I’ll be interested to see whether this week's announcement affects City’s form, but my gut feeling is that it won’t. United wilted after Ferguson announced his impending – and ultimately abortive – retirement in 2001, but unlike then City have a replacement already lined up whose arrival will excite and perhaps also inspire the current players.
City’s timing is also very clever from a business point of view. It means the club can now sell the Guardiola factor into future commercial or hospitality deals – and that is sure to be a huge boost.
You can be sure that Guardiola and City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain, who he played alongside and then coached under at Barcelona, will also be very far advanced in their plans for next season.
City are in a very strong position to cherry-pick available players, not just because of their vast wealth and Guardiola’s pulling power but also due in part to the transfer ban hanging over Real Madrid. Even if Real successfully appeal, the threat of a ban has created uncertainty in their business mechanics.
I think players of the calibre of Robert Lewandowski and Paul Pogba will be queuing up to join City. They have the best manager, the best training facilities, and a great stadium. All that’s missing is the weather.
Owners of other clubs must now be feeling the pressure to spend lavishly in the summer, because City surely will, and none more so than those at their neighbours United.