Date:30th May 2011 at 2:37pm
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Guardiola is a man respected by everyone in world football

Heir apparent? But would he struggle getting the best from the likes of Bebe?

Now that the disappointment and devastation at another Champions League final has dispelled enough for me to be able to pen another article, I feel it’s time to try and grab some positives from Saturday night.

One big plus is the fact that in Guardiola, there may be a manager gifted enough to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson one day and not be found wanting.

Although there’s a lot of “ifs” “buts” and “maybes” when it comes to whether we’ll see the Barcelona manager occupying the Old Trafford hot seat there’s every reason to be believe it could actually happen.

Guardiola isn’t likely to stay at the Nou Camp for a long period of time- even he’s alluded to that fact himself- regardless of how many trophies he wins and moving to United may not be a step up but it certainly isn’t a step down and one of the few clubs in the world as big as the Catalan giants.

Guardiola’s record at Barcelona is quite simply ridiculously good, not even playing Football Manager 2011 would you expect to have such a successful tenure at a club.

Three La Liga’s in as many seasons not to mention a couple of Champions Leagues means that Guardiola has already cemented his place as one of the greatest managers in the clubs history.

Some may argue that he inherited a great side, that when you have players such as Lionel Messi, Xavi  and Andreas Iniesta in your team then the hard works already been done.

It may be true that Guardiola was fortunate to take over such a gifted group of players but that shouldn’t detract from the remarkable job he’s done and the things he’s acheived.

After all if winning the Champions League was easy, then Sir Alex Ferguson would have more than two winner’s medals in his cupboard and Chelsea wouldn’t have gone through six managers during the Ambramovich era.

Even winning La Liga can’t be taken for granted as with Real’s millions plus the Special One himself taking over at the Bernabeu than Guardiola deserves a lot of credit for not just his hat-trick of titles but the manner and relative ease they’ve been won.

Let’s not forget that arch rivals Real Madrid have spent hundreds of millions in the past three years trying to usurp Barcelona and one Copa Del Ray win aside, have failed miserably.

In the past I’ve advocated United promoting from within as I think that both Barcelona- and dare I say the successful Liverpool sides of the 70s and 80s show that it’s often the best way to keep clubs at the very top.

However, watching a team play so well, entertain so much and win so often as Barcelona do makes it difficult not to think Guardiola may be a better option than perhaps Ryan Giggs or Gary Neville one day taking over from Sir Alex.

The only worry I have with the best dressed manager in football taking over from the most successful one, is whether Guardiola would find it difficult to take over a United side that in all honesty is a lot weaker than the current Barcelona team.

I’m not saying United don’t have a talented squad, of course we do, players such as Wayne Rooney and Nani would walk into practically any team- except United’s in a Champions League final of course.

In Chicharito and the Da Silvas United have three world class youngsters who should be the nucleus of the team in the forthcoming years.

Any manager taking over United will also need a transfer war chest of that there can be little doubt, regardless of the team he inherits.

Guardiola has proven himself to be fairly astute in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Dani Alves and David Villa, although he did make arguably his biggest managerial mistake when he swapped Samuel Eto’o and a large sum of money for the disappointing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Guardiola deserves credit for promoting the likes of Sergio Busquets and Pedro to the first team and that faith in his youth team could be a positive trait that would fit in well at Old Trafford.  I doubt any United fans would argue if Guardiola -or whoever takes over from Fergie- gave one or two of the youth players a chance in the first team.

The problem is could Guardiola mould a team strong enough to topple his Barcelona side? Could he find a way to beat the likes of Messi and Iniesta when and if the two teams faced each other? Could he also handle the Premier League, where there could be potentially five teams challenging for the title and there are literally no easy games- especially away from home?

I’d actually argue he could to all those questions. No one knows the Barca team better than he does so if anyone could find a way to beat them logic suggests it would be Gaurdiola. In terms of the Premier League,  a great coach should be able to find success almost anywhere- look at Carlo Ancelotti, the former Milan manager was able to win the Premier League at his first attempt because he was a talented coach- regardless of the quality of the other title contenders- including United.

Coming from Barcelona to any club would be difficult, after all you can’t just tell Anderson to score at will which at times Messi seems to do, but there’s every reason to suspect that a manager of Guardiola’s ability could do the job.

Should he be appointed as Sir Alex’s successor, I, like many other Reds, certainly wouldn’t be complaining.