Pep’s future and Premier League charges – Where next for Man City after treble?
Manchester City reached the pinnacle of the European game with victory in the Champions League final on Saturday, which also saw them complete the treble.
Here, the PA news agency looks at what could come next for the club.
Could this be the first of many European triumphs for City?
The club will certainly hope so. While winning the Champions League may have been a long-held ambition and the culmination of everything hitherto done in a now 15-year project under Abu Dhabi ownership, it was not a one-off target. The club have advanced considerably on and off the field and they intend to establish themselves firmly among the continent’s heavyweights. Winning every season is obviously not realistic but they want reaching the latter stages each time to become the norm.
Will Pep Guardiola carry on at the helm?
The inspirational Catalan has been the central factor in City’s success. The club identified Guardiola as the man to bring them European glory long before they even appointed him and their set-up is tailored to him. Their trust in him has paid off handsomely and they will naturally want him to stay as long as possible. There is uncertainty as Guardiola has never favoured long-term commitments. All his contract renewals at City have been relatively short. After winning the Champions League there is a feeling he could see his business as done when his current deal expires in 2025. On the other hand, he does seem firmly wedded to the City project and spoke on Saturday of not wanting the club to win one Champions League “and disappear”. City fans can expect at least a couple more campaigns from him.
Will he need to reshape the team?
With the way City have charged through the closing stages of the season to sweep up three trophies, there would seem little reason to make major changes. A specialist left-back would be desirable after Joao Cancelo left on loan in January and seems likely to move on, but that position has been a recurring problem throughout Guardiola’s tenure and has hardly hindered them. Some new signings may be necessary if the influential pair of Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva leave. Gundogan is out of contract this summer and yet to commit while Silva is apparently open to a new challenge and could go if a suitable offer arrived. City are hopeful both will stay, however. Other than that, there seem no pressing issues.
Can they maintain their standards?
It would surely be impossible for City to remain at the same level they have been this season. Last year Liverpool produced a very high standard and came within a whisker of winning the quadruple but, after their exertions took their toll, fell away this term. City will be anxious to ensure any downturn is not as dramatic. Five Premier League titles in six years, however, suggests Guardiola has a good idea how to prevent this.
There is an elephant in the room though isn’t there?
Yes. The Premier League’s Financial Fair Play investigation into City may be out of sight at times but it has not gone away. City are facing more than 100 charges for alleged rule breaches. This could loom over them for some considerable time but, with little clarity over the process or the nature of the charges, it will be business as usual in the meantime.