MANCHESTER, England — Some Premier League coaches may be sitting uncomfortably following Pep Guardiola’s announcement that he wants to work in England next.
Not Louis van Gaal.
The Manchester United manager said Friday he thinks his job is secure despite the team’s recent poor form, and isn’t convinced Guardiola will even get a job next season after leaving Bayern Munich.
"It’s not for sure he will be the manager of a Premier League club next year," Van Gaal said. "The Premier League club is also partner of a contract, so he has to believe in you."
Guardiola declared his Premier League ambitions on Tuesday, saying he hasn’t yet signed a contract with a club. However, Bayern’s announcement last month that Guardiola would be leaving after three seasons, to be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, had already sparked a flurry of speculation in England about his next destination.
Given his high profile, the only clubs he would realistically manage are Man United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
City has long been the favourite to hire Guardiola, mainly because of the presence of two former Barcelona executives — Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain — in the club’s hierarchy. Guardiola coached Barcelona from 2008-12, when Soriano and Begiristain were also at Camp Nou.
Chelsea is another strong possibility, given it needs a manager at the end of the season following Jose Mourinho’s firing last month.
Arsenal and United have managers who still have 18 months left on their current contracts. Yet while Arsene Wenger is thought to have the safest job in England at Arsenal, there’s been plenty of speculation about Van Gaal’s future after United went eight matches without a win — its worst run since 1990.
"Every manager has that right to announce (he is leaving)," Van Gaal said of Guardiola. "I’m at the end of my career so for me (Guardiola’s plan) is not so interesting. For me, what is interesting (is) how I take care of Manchester United in my contract and after this season I still have one year to go."
The pressure was most intense on Van Gaal after a 2-0 loss to Stoke on Dec. 26, after which he raised the prospect of quitting. A draw with Chelsea and a victory over Swansea has relieved some of the pressure, although a loss to third-tier club Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Saturday will leave Van Gaal in another crisis.
"We have still to see that," Van Gaal said, "because one swallow doesn’t make a summer."