Reports at the end of the week claimed that Pep Guardiola offered himself to Arsenal before taking up the Bayern Munich job but the club said ‘no’ as Arsene Wenger signed a new deal.
So are they true? Let’s take a look at what is known and what is speculation.
The story gained traction when it appeared in The S*n, but they got it from Talksport. Their information came from journalist, Matt Scott, who said, “I know this for a fact. He was after the Arsenal job, that was after he left Barcelona. He was on his sabbatical.
“His first job after he came back wouldn’t have been Bayern Munich, it would have been Arsenal.
“Instead the board extended Arsene Wenger’s contract. He [Guardiola] said ‘if I were to make myself available to Arsenal would you have me?’
“The board didn’t respond.
“Arsene Wenger is perfect for Stan Kroenke because he is not going to put pressure on money. He will not spend money if he was told not to spend.”
So who is Matt Scott?
Scott is probably best known for his work with the Guardian over an eight-year spell from 2003-2011. He now lists himself as a ‘Financial columnist for Inside World Football, sports/media consultant and Talksport/PLP pundit. A bit of Arsenal’. So he’s not some tabloid hack, and we know he has an Arsenal bias.
Guardiola joined Bayern in 2013. Wenger signed a new three-year deal in the summer of 2014, meaning he had one year left on his Arsenal contract when Guardiola seemed to have come calling.
Arsenal would never have asked Wenger to stand down early.
It seems that the core of this story is true, although it’s unclear why the board would not respond to Guardiola.
But that’s not where it ends.
Taking what Scott said, The S*n then embellished with some extra details. They tell us that Kroenke decided to extend Wenger’s contract rather than ‘gamble’ with Guardiola, but there is no evidence that Kroenke was even made aware of the Spaniard’s interest, simply ‘the board’. Even if you accept that ‘the board’ is just a different way of saying ‘Stan Kroenke’ there is no way of knowing what he thought about the whole thing, let alone that he thought it was a ‘gamble’.
The story does seem to be true, although we are still missing a lot of details to give it substance.