AFP PHOTO

Pep Guardiola is interested in staying as Manchester City manager beyond the length of his current contract with the Premier League champions, which is due to expire next summer.

The 48-year-old is already on course to make City the longest employer of his managerial career, having spent four years at Barcelona and three in charge of Bayern Munich.

But Guardiola has for the first time indicated that he would be prepared to discuss the prospect of staying beyond the summer of 2021 and into a sixth season in charge at the Etihad.

“I’m open (to staying) yes, I’m so comfortable working with this club,” said Guardiola.

“It depends on results. When you are five years it depends on the results. We will see what happens this season and next season.”

This season has not gone according to plan for the City manager as he attempted to match the unprecedented efforts of last year when he swept all three domestic titles with the club.

Injuries have played a big role in City, who travel to Newcastle this weekend, falling nine points behind league leaders Liverpool although the manager has long insisted that he will fulfil his current contract.

The fact his wife Cristina Serra has returned to live in Barcelona has cast doubts over Guardiola’s long-term plans in some quarters but the City manager insisted he feels like Manchester has become a second home.

“A little bit yeah,” he said. “But I also knew how tough this league is and I’m comfortable with the players, they’re incredible people and it is a joy to train with them.

“We know how well they react when they don’t win, they win and they don’t play good, want to improve and when you see it it’s a dream come true as a manager and that’s what we have to continue.

“Any club, any situation, any country is different, I’m older, already I have have been in three incredible leagues, it’s different.

“In that period (with Barcelona) I was younger and now I’m more experienced. Maybe with the experience I have now I would stayed in Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

“Still, I have 18 months, that’s a lot of time in football, that’s why the club and myself agree it is not time to talk just play tomorrow do our best, make a good season and after that we see how everything goes.

“That is the best way I trust a lot the club and they trust me and that is the most important thing. The results and our passion and what we see and decide.”

While Guardiola has yet to actively open contract talks, his words will be encouraging to a City hierarchy who saw their club boosted this week by a £388 million investment from US private equity firm Silver Lake Management, a move that valued the Premier League champions’ parent company at nearly £4 billion.

Before opening serious talks with City management, however, Guardiola also needs to satisfy himself that the club’s staff and players remain on the same page.

“It is not the same when the manager is five years as two years (into a job),” he added.

“It is not about what the club wants or not. For me myself I want to see my players and the reaction of my players and everything.

“It is not simple like I want to extend. I want to see the club, I want to see the players, I want to see how still we are working together.

“That is the most important thing after five years together. You have to feel like we can do it together and enjoy to work together. When I feel that that is not worse, we will see with the club the best way.”

SOURCEAFP
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