BERLIN, December 17 – Pep Guardiola, strongly linked to a move to the Premier League, has told Bayern Munich he will be leaving the club at the end of the season, German media reported on Thursday.
The Spaniard’s three-year contract expires next June and Bayern’s head coach has said he will announce “before Christmas” whether he will extend his stay or leave, with Manchester City among the English sides keen to secure his services.
According to German daily Bild, Guardiola gave his decision to Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge “last week” amid reports from Spain suggested Carlo Ancelotti was poised to replace him.
“Everything points to his leaving,” the paper added. Kicker suggested his departure was “an open secret”.
The 44-year-old Catalan is in his third year at the helm of the Bavarian giants.
Last month Rummenigge indicated that talks on his future would begin after December 19 “to avoid any Christmas surprise, one way or the other”.
Barcelona daily Sport claimed a month ago that Guardiola had already given his word to former Barca colleagues Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, now Manchester City’s chief executive and director of football respectively, that he would join them at the Etihad next season.
Bild suggested Guardiola was alive to the danger of out-staying his welcome if he remained at Bayern.
“He is someone who enjoys a challenge. That’s the reason why he joined Bayern in 2013,” the paper said.
Marca say Bayern want three-time Champions League winner Ancelotti to succeed Guardiola.
“The Italian coach has sealed his agreement with Bayern last week,” wrote Marca on its website.
“He will sign for three seasons and the announcement will be made next week, when confirming the change on the bench at the Allianz Arena.”
Spanish radio station Cadena Cope revealed that Ancelotti “has confirmed to Bayern Munich that he’ll take over from Pep Guardiola” despite interest from Manchester United.
Bayern laboured to a 1-0 German Cup win over Darmstadt on Tuesday to book their place in the quarter-finals and keep alive their dreams of winning the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and cup titles this season.
If true the 56-year-old Ancelotti will be taking on the Bundesliga for the first time after successful stints in Italy with AC Milan, in England with Chelsea and in Spain with Real Madrid.
The Bavarian giants hold a five-point lead in the German league ahead of their final game of 2015 at Hanover 96 on Saturday, but the sense of anticipation is building in the Bayern squad over Guardiola’s impending announcement.