EPL

I would have stayed in League Two - Guardiola discusses Man City future

By Sports Desk July 14, 2020

Pep Guardiola believes now is not the time to discuss a new contract at Manchester City – although he insists he would have remained at the club had they been demoted to League Two.

That was a fairly outlandish consequence the City manager alluded to, in the event of UEFA's two-season ban for Financial Fair Play breaches being upheld.

But Monday's verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to quash that punishment prompted talk of Guardiola being offered fresh terms to run beyond June 2021.

City still have an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal and a Champions League showdown with Real Madrid on the horizon, while 2020-21 will represent the first time Guardiola has taken charge of a fifth season with one club.

As such, speaking ahead of Wednesday's Premier League match against Bournemouth, he would rather focus upon matters on the pitch – free of the burden of looming UEFA sanctions.

"Nothing has changed my opinion, maybe I will be able to stay here longer," Guardiola said when asked whether he would commit to a contract extension.

"As a club, as an organisation, the people cannot understand how difficult a time it was for all the club, being under suspicion for something we have not done.

"Hopefully people can stop talking about this – or they can go to court and prove it like we have done.

"Now is not the time [to talk about contracts] we have one incredible month ahead of us.

"I have one more year, for a manager it is a long, long time.

"The decisions we thought to do before the sentence were quite similar. I was happy before and now. We have time to talk about this.

"Now is the normal situation like every season, if the situation was uncertain I don't know what would have happened.

"My personal situation was clear. I said a month ago I would stay and it didn't matter if we were in the Champions League, or like a lot of people here in England suggested, League Two.

"I would have stayed here. About the future, we have an incredible four or five weeks ahead of us with the games against Arsenal and Madrid."

Star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne did not express a similar enthusiasm for English football's fourth tier and suggested a two-year European ban would have forced him to consider his City career.

The 29-year-old's agent, Patrick De Koster, said he welcomed the CAS verdict, although talk of a new deal at the Etihad Stadium for De Bruyne – who is contracted until 2023 in any case – might be premature at this stage

"After the CAS verdict, we Facetimed for a moment and Kevin was very happy, very satisfied," De Koster told HBVL.

“If you are banned from the Champions League at that age, you should think again.

"We'll see. He now has a three-year contract in Manchester, is settled with his family and is feeling good. They have also always been very good with him. Moreover, the number of clubs that can pay him [his salary] is not that big.

"He sees participation in the Champions League next season mainly as a bonus. But that decision doesn't mean more to him. It is not the case that we will now sign a new contract in Manchester tomorrow."

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