Manchester: Pep Guardiola has told friends he is open to staying as Manchester City manager for the next four years.
Guardiola’s deal runs until June 2021 and he spoke publicly after the victory over Watford about the prospect of staying for a year beyond that as he dismissed suggestions of a verbal agreement to join Juventus.
But it is understood Guardiola has floated the possibility in private of committing to two more years beyond the end of his existing deal, which would tie him down until 2023 and extend his tenure to seven years.
City’s owners want Guardiola to stay for a decade and build a dynasty. Guardiola sees huge scope for growth at City and claimed last year that he did “not rule out continuing to lead in 10 years”, even though he said it would depend on how he and his family felt and whether the club still wanted him.
Reports over the weekend linked Guardiola with Juventus but the Catalan is firmly committed.
“I have two more years here [at City] and I’m not going anywhere unless they sack me,” Guardiola said.
“I hope to be here another two years and maybe another. It is impossible for me to move, unless I get sacked. I am not going to Juventus for the next two seasons.”
One man whose future is in serious doubt is Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco. The Germans visit City for their Champions League last-16 second leg on Tuesday. City needed late goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling to win the first leg 3-2 in Gelsenkirchen three weeks ago when the Germans shrugged off dreadful league form to produce a battling display.
However, Schalke’s fortunes have nosedived since, leaking 11 goals in three heavy defeats to leave them four points from the Bundesliga relegation places.
Tedesco, 33, has been told he has two games to prove himself.
Schalke’s new sporting director Jochen Schneider says only good performances at City and home to third-placed RB Leipzig next Saturday can save Tedesco.
The Schalke squad are hoping for an unlikely away victory and want Tedesco to stay on.
“Of course we do — no one has ever said anything different,” said striker Guido Burgstaller.
Schalke lost 4-2 away to Werden Bremen on Friday. “No points, no big improvement. Hard times are waiting for us,” added Burgstaller.
“Things won’t get easier, we have to be prepared for that.”
Morale in the Schalke squad is so low after Friday’s defeat that all the talk was on avoiding relegation — in their own backyard barely registering.
Defeat in Bremen came on the back of last weekend’s 4-0 thumping at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf and a 3-0 defeat at Mainz — three losses against mediocre mid-table opposition. To compound their problems, Schalke’s playmaker Daniel Caligiuri misses the trip to Manchester and is expected to be sidelined for the next four weeks.