Pep Guardiola has signed a new deal with Manchester City.
The City coach's previous deal was due to expire at the end of this season, but his new contract will take him to the end of the 2022/23 season.
That will take Guardiola's tenure at City beyond seven years, making it by far his longest managerial job in football.
In a statement released by the club, chairman Khaldoon Mubarak said:
“Pep’s contract extension is the natural next step in a journey which has evolved over many years. It is a product of the mutual trust and respect that exists between him and the entire Club. It also goes to the stability and creativity at the heart of our football operations. Importantly it is a validation of the football structure and philosophy that has been built over more than a decade and to which he has contributed so much.
“I’m sure all City fans share my delight in this new agreement and in anticipating the exciting opportunities that, with continued hard work, are there to be taken.”
Image credit: Getty Images
City are believed to have offered Guardiola time during the recent international breaks to consider his future. As reported in Inside Football, City officials were believed to be willing to wait until January for a decision. But the club will be delighted that the 49-year-old has agreed to the new deal.
Speaking last month, Guardiola had indicated that his future at City hinged on this season's performance, saying: "I'm incredibly happy here, delighted to be in Manchester and hopefully I can do a good job this season to stay longer."
But with City currently tenth in the league and six points off the top, Guardiola has committed his long-term future. In a statement released by the club, Guardiola said:
“Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome in the club and in the city itself- from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the chairman and owner. Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success.
Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have. I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I am humbled by the confidence the Owner, Chairman, Ferran and Txiki have shown in me to continue for two more years after this season.
“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving, and I am very excited and about helping Manchester City do that.”
Under Guardiola Man City have won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, three League Cups and two Community Shields.
Will Messi join Guardiola at City?
Manchester City believe they can prise Lionel Messi away from Barcelona in the summer, and Guardiola's decision to extend his contract will only aid that bid.
City emerged as the frontrunners to sign Messi over the summer after the Argentine in the wake of their humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich and public fallout with president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
However, Messi would eventually stay after Barcelona insisted that a €700 million release clause was still valid.
"I wasn't happy and I wanted to leave," Messi told Goal.com.
I have not been allowed this in any way and I will stay at the club so as not to get into a legal dispute. The management of the club led by Bartomeu is a disaster
Now Eurosport.es are reporting that City are hopeful of landing Messi on a free transfer, with Guardiola's new contract one of three key factors in luring him away.
Messi says he's 'tired of always being the problem' at Barcelona
What next in the transfer market?
Sources are indicating that City will look for another centre-back, despite the additions of Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias in the last window. It’s possible they look at the situation in January but more likely they wait until summer unless a new injury or problem arises.
They are continuing to monitor the central midfield position, with eyes on Douglas Luiz’s impressive displays at Aston Villa and the possibility of bringing him back to the club.
Attack is the most exciting place they will aim to make an addition next summer. Sergio Aguero’s contract is up at the end of this season and while the prospect of an extension is certainly possible, recruitment staff are having to clearly define candidates to replace the club’s record goalscorer long-term.
Of course, there is always that Messi dream to consider - he could even work well in the same side as Aguero - but other stellar talent is being identified in the meantime. Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, also from Argentina, is one figure they feel could fit well as the next focal point of the side. Borussia Dortmund’s brilliant Erling Haaland is also a genuine target. He’s viewed as the all-action front man who will ensure the goals do not dry up in the coming years. Fresh enquiries can be expected to at the start of the year.