Guardiola exit?

Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague believes Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola is set to quit the Catalan club and could even be prepared to try his luck in the Premier League.

Guardiola is expected to hold a Press conference on Friday morning alongside club President Sandro Rosell, where Sky Sports sources say he will inform the media of his decision on whether or not to pen a new deal at the Camp Nou. The pair have been in lengthy talks for the last 24 hours following Barca’s shock Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Chelsea this week and, according to Balague, 41-year-old Guardiola is understood to be ready to confirm his exit at the end of the season,

“He has the urge to coach in another place. He wants to come to the Premier League,” he says. “He couldn’t make it there as a player and was close to joining Wigan at one point I believe. Manchester United wanted him at some point, Liverpool and Spurs, but it didn’t happen, and as a manager he wants to prove himself in the Premier League.”

Rosell is still hoping Guardiola, who has won 13 trophies since taking over in summer, 2008, might have change of heart, yet it now looks increasingly unlikely. But Balague thinks a fresh face could be just what the Barcelona players need after appearing to run out of steam in recent weeks, and some of them could even follow him to England.

“It’s a good point because they are very close to him; they’ve grown to be better players with him. But at the same time four years with the same manager, seeing the same face, you wonder if that is one of the reasons Guardiola, if he decides to leave, will leave,” said Balague.

The bookies’ favourite to replace Guardiola is Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa, although other names sure to be mentioned include former Chelsea boss Andres Villas-Boas and two ex-Barcelona players, Laurent Blanc and Ernesto Valverde.

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