Early Doors

Guardiola could have been United boss – but for Fergie’s accent

Early Doors

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Manchester United might have snapped up Pep Guardiola last summer had it not been for Sir Alex Ferguson's thick Glaswegian accent, joked the Bayern Munich boss.

When Guardiola steps onto the Old Trafford turf on Tuesday night, some United fans may be wishing he was heading for the home dugout rather than the away one.

After winning the Champions League with Barcelona twice, Guardiola took a 12-month sabbatical before deciding to take the reins at the Allianz Arena.

Speculation was rife that Ferguson offered Guardiola the chance to succeed him at Old Trafford when the pair met for lunch in New York five months before the Scot announced his retirement.

Guardiola concedes he may have been given a chance to take the position at United, but the offer could have been lost in translation (even though he is fluent in English):

"He invited me to a super restaurant (in New York). It was a friendly dinner, like always. He was so gentle and we spent a very good time together.

"My English is not so good and when Sir Alex spoke quickly I didn't understand him so maybe I didn't understand if I received an offer or not!"

Guardiola's humorous attempt to dodge a question regarding the meeting in December suggests the topic of Ferguson's retirement did come up.

Guardiola has no plans to leave Munich any time soon, but when he does decide to move on, he will not be short of offers.

Another in-demand Bayern employee is midfielder Toni Kroos, who has also been linked with United.

But Guardiola said there is no chance of the 24-year-old leaving in the summer, particularly after Thiago suffered a serious injury.

He could, however, not offer any assurances that the German would stay beyond next season:

"Toni has one year more of a contract and Toni will remain.

"I hope he can extend his contract and stay with us because he is a very good guy, he loves his game, it is not just a job for him and I would like him to stay.

"I spoke with the player, with the club, I gave my opinion. After that I am not manager, I am just the trainer."

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