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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea offer Pep 'total control'

Pep Guardiola last night denied that he had already met with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich but stopped short of ruling out a switch to the Premier League next season.

"Sooner or later I will manage again, I don't know when," said the 41-year-old coach who admitted his decision to leave Barcelona had been made with the club last November. "Right now I am interested in other things, life will take me where it takes me. There are other things aside from football," he added.

There was no categoric statement of intent not to coach next season, but he denied a story that had appeared yesterday morning that he had met with the Chelsea owner on 29 February in Paris. "No, that would be a lack of respect to the club," he said.

Despite days and weeks of stories of the club trying to persuade him to stay, Guardiola admitted that the decision had been made last year.

He said: "Between the end of October and the start of December I told the president that this was the end of my time at the club but I could not make it public, or even tell the players. It would have been a mess if I had. The decision was taken a long time ago."

There were eight players present at the Ricard Maxenchs room in the bowels of the Nou Camp to see Guardiola publicly declare what he had known for five months but there was one important absentee. Lionel Messi had taken his coach's decision worse than any of his team-mates and later admitted: "I want to thank Pep from the bottom of my heart for all that he has given me.

"I prefer not to be there with him because of the strong emotions that I feel. I know the press will be looking for sad faces and that is something that I have decided not to show."

With the pre-match handshake between Chelsea and QPR players causing concern after it emerged Rangers players were considering snubbing John Terry, the Premier League proposed a guard of honour for Champions League finalists Chelsea instead.
The handshakes have since been scrapped but Mark Hughes was still irked by the bizarre proposal, the QPR manager saying there was "absolutely no chance of that" happening.
The Mail claims Arsenal have taken significant steps towards a summer move for Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez.
But Arsene Wenger will face stiff competition for the 23-year-old's signature from Barcelona and Manchester United.
The Gunners are also confident of sealing a deal for Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila - after moving to beat off Manchester United, according to the Daily Mirror.
The same paper chooses to focus on some comments made by Roberto Mancini with a back page headline that reads 'Manc robber'.
The Manchester City boss has vowed to demonstrate his financial firepower in the summer transfer market by pursuing Lille’s £35million-rated winger Eden Hazard.
The Italian also has Napoli striker Edinson Cavani and Spurs winger Luka Modric, who would each cost £35m, in his sights and is interested in a move for Robin van Persie, for whom Arsenal would demand at least £25m.
But top of his wishlist, the paper says, is Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, while he would also take Ryan Giggs if he was a little younger.
Not even that kind of crazy talk is likely to see Mancini booted out of the club though, with a report in the Guardian by the highly-respected David Conn saying the Italian's job is safe - regardless of what happens in the big derby clash at Eastlands on Monday.
And finally for today, the Daily Mail claims David Moyes will make another attempt to lure Fulham striker Clint Dempsey to Everton this summer.

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