Some rumors start themselves. From the moment it’s been known that Tito Vilanova will have to undergo another surgery to remove a dangerous parotid gland tumor, the name of Pep Guardiola as the new-old head coach for Barcelona has been thrown around and catching like wildfire, even if there’s no real truth to these speculations just yet.
The facts? Vilanova underwent surgery to remove a similar tumor in November 2011, and shortly returned to his assistant position, next to Guardiola. He’ll now step down from his role as head coach of Barcelona. Assistant Jordi Roura stepping up to take charge of first team affairs in the meantime. According to the club, Roura will hold the interim head coaching job for six weeks, while Vilanova will be in chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
But this is how these rumors begin. Pep Guardiola has been linked to pretty much every big club in the world, except for Barcelona, the team he left not too long ago. Manchester United are always a target of “who will be Ferguson’s heir” and Guardiola, along with Jose Mourinho as well, seems like the man everyone wants.
Roberto Mancini, no matter what he does with Manchester City, is always under the threat of getting the ax. That is always the case with super-rich and super ambitious teams. Less than everything is a failure, and it all depends on the amount of patience the owners have. For now, Mancini is safe, but Guardiola will be the first name on that list if the job becomes available. Same goes for the Chelsea position. Rafa Benitez is the manager now, but Abramovich likes the trendy names, and has no problem firing a manager regardless of the results.
Italy is also an option, with both AC Milan and Inter thinking about getting Guardiola, but there aren’t enough resources to get him in all likelihood. Some think that Bayern Munich is an option that might be very intriguing to him, but a Spanish manager in the Bundesliga just doesn’t sound right. In any case and in any rumor, the more likely option is that Guardiola carries on his rest till the end of this season, and when he jumps back in the game, it won’t be to get thrown in the middle of a campaign.
So comes up the Barcelona option. No one is going to slip Guardiola through the back door while Vilanova is fighting cancer. Some dirty moves are too low for anyone. The other problem with that, besides the ethical one, is that Vilanova has been close to perfect. Barcelona have dropped only two points in the La Liga in what looks like an expected easy second half to the season, with both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid too far away to do anything about it.
Even if Guardiola wants to come back, he’ll have to wait for something bad to happen, meaning Vilanova can’t take the step back to his job again. If that does happen, than Pep is the first name that comes up. Maybe Guardiola is keeping his cards close to his chest because he knows that, and eventually would like to return to Barcelona, more than anything else.