Guardiola will inherit a squad with promise, but problems that need addressing. So, how does the charismatic Catalan turn City from Champions League nearly men into champions of England again and, possibly, Europe?
City’s squad needs an overhaul and Guardiola is already putting together dossiers for his new employers on transfer targets.
A number of players are expected to leave, including Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov, Martin Demichelis and Willy Caballero, with serious question marks hanging over Yaya Toure, Eliaquim Mangala, Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri.
Guardiola will be given funds to replenish the squad, with City ready to meet the £39.2million buy-out clause in defender Aymeric Laporte’s contract at Athletic Bilbao. The £45m asking price for Everton defender John Stones and the £23m it would cost to sign midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund will not be issues either.
Prolific striker Kelechi Iheanacho can expect a more prominent role next season, with highly-rated 20-year-old centre back Jason Denayer expected to compete for a first-team place when he returns from a loan at Galatasaray.
THE PEP FACTOR
IT’S hard to imagine a Guardiola team going out of the Champions League as tamely as City did at the Bernabeu. The previous night, Bayern exited at the same stage with all guns blazing, showing the kind of high-energy, high-pressing approach that is Guardiola’s trademark.
That’s what City can expect next season, as the 45-year-old looks to infuse the energy and belief he did at Barcelona and Bayern.
Manuel Pellegrini is a sworn advocate of attacking football and has tried to stay true to those principles. But in making City harder to beat in Europe, he has sacrificed some of their cutting edge and that was painfully apparent over the two legs against Madrid.
Gareth Bale, whose shot led to Real’s decisive goal on Wednesday night, is convinced Guardiola can make a big difference.
‘I’m sure he will,’ said Bale. ‘He’s a world-class coach, he’s done well wherever he’s gone. This was a new occasion for City and it’s difficult.’
There is rarely room for sentiment in football, but City and Guardiola have a major decision to make over the future of injury-hit captain Vincent Kompany. Do they call time on the man who has lifted two Premier League titles? The inclination at City is to give Kompany another year to prove his long-term fitness.
Having lasted nine minutes against Sunderland in December and seven minutes against Dynamo Kiev in March, the 30-year-old had to be replaced in the 10th minute in Madrid with a groin strain.
Scans suggest he will be out for four to six weeks, leaving him to sweat on his place in the Belgium team for Euro 2016. But can Guardiola trust him to start a new season when his body keeps letting him down?
IN IT TO WIN IT
Quite simply, City need to be in the Champions League in the first place. The prospect of Guardiola taking over a team in the Europa League is unthinkable. Even finishing fourth in the Premier League and having to play a pre-qualifier would be an undignified start for a coach of his pedigree.
City’s flight from Madrid touched down at nearly 4am, and there is not much time to prepare for a huge game against third-placed Arsenal at the Etihad on Sunday, as Pellegrini’s side attempt to keep up with the Gunners with one more game remaining.
‘Roll on Sunday,’ said goalkeeper Joe Hart after the defeat in Spain. ‘We’re looking forward to it. We go again and we can cement our place in the Champions League. That’s important for the club and for me. Nights like this are amazing and I want to keep them coming.’
Original source: How to Pep up City