The Sunday Supplement panel expect Pep Guardiola to be at Manchester City next season
Last Updated: January 13, 2013 12:30pm
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are an ideal match, Paul Hayward told The Sunday Supplement.
The former Barcelona boss is currently on a self-imposed break from the game but seems set to return to management in the summer, with Premier League champions City rumoured to be his preferred destination.
"Manchester City and Guardiola makes a lot of sense. City will deny it, I'm sure, but at the same time City have regressed quite a bit this season."
Daily Telegraph man Hayward reckons that would be a good move for both Guardiola and City. He believes City have gone backwards under Roberto Mancini this season and expects the Italian to be sacked this summer.
"Guardiola said the other day he will definitely return to management in the summer and logically that return will come in the Premier League," said Hayward.
"Manchester City and Guardiola makes a lot of sense. City will deny it, I'm sure, but at the same time City have regressed quite a bit this season. They were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages and if they surrender their title back to Manchester United then Mancini is in real trouble.
"It doesn't matter how many defenders he's got in the ground at the Etihad stadium, that's a regression and if there's a regression with that amount of money involved then his job is on the line.
"Guardiola is the most sought after manager in world football, without moving a muscle, and I think City would go for him if they gave up on Mancini."
Independent and Evening Standard columnist Patrick Barclay also expects Guardiola to link up with the current Premier League holders and believes City's investment in their future will appeal to the former Spain international.
"City have developed a policy of long termism," said Barclay.
"City are very serious about laying down roots and being around for a long, long time and eventually becoming the best team in Manchester on a long term basis.
"They've also brought in two former very senior Barcelona executives at the Etihad [Chief Executive Ferran Soriano and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain] which is interesting."
Mancini, though, is popular among City fans - and rightly so, says the Daily Mirror's Oliver Holt. However, Holt agreed the Italian hasn't done enough - given the resources at his disposal - to earn another season with the Manchester club.
"City fans are right to chant Mancini's name because he's achieved an awful lot there," said Holt.
"He's won them their first title for many decades and their loyalty to him is to be admired. But I don't think he'll be there at the start of next season.
"Not getting out of their Champions League group was a big failure and even though the City hierarchy have been loyal to him, his time is running out.
"Guardiola is hot property and I think he'd look at City and see a club that has a plan, a structure, who are looking to the future with their new campus."