Pep Guardiola has confirmed he will not renew his Bayern Munich contract as he “wants to manage in the Premier League.”
Guardiola will leave Bayern at trhe end of the season with Carlo Ancelotti already signed up to take his place at the Allianz Arena.
The Catalan’s next club remains shrouded in mystery, despite strong links with Manchester City, but it seems certain to be in England.
He told a news conference on Tuesday: “The reason I have not extended my contract is simple. I want to manage in the Premier League.
“I haven’t decided on a new club yet.”
The 44-year-old admitted age was a factor in his decision.
“If I was 55 or 60 years old then I would stay longer. But I’m young and I am charmed by the challenge [of the Premier League].
“I am grateful for everything Bayern have done for me and the trust they have shown in me but I need a new challenge.
“My career is a long way from over.”
Manchester United are reportedly keen on Guardiola as Louis van Gaal struggles to get the best out of his expensively assembled squad, while Chelsea will also be on the lookout for a new boss at the end of the season, with Guus Hiddink in temporary charge following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
Asked why he wanted to further his career in England now, Guardiola said: “When I came to Munich people asked ‘why not England?’ It was my decision then and it’s my decision now. I want to go to England and at 44 I think it’s the right time.
“It is a risk but that’s why I like it. It was also a risk to go to Bayern after they won the treble. I want to try a new club with new players and achieve something.
“This is just my second experience as a coach and three years is enough. I would like to be a coach who stays with one club for 30 years but I am not. I want new experiences, new cities, to get to know new people.”
Guardiola spent four seasons at Barcelona, winning 14 trophies, before moving to Bayern in 2013.
He has claimed back-to-back Bundesliga crowns and insists not winning the Champions League would not necessarily tarnish his record in Germany.
“For the fans and media it is clear, if we do not win the Champions League then my time here would not be complete, as it was in Barcelona. I accept that, however, it is not easy to win everything.
“For me, the fact we lost only once in the 51 games in the first half of the season since the treble win under Jupp Heynckes is a bigger achievement than winning the Champions League.
“I do not want to lose this good feeling until the end.”
He added: “For me the [Bundesliga] championship is the most important title. It shows how good we are as professionals because we work every day for this and every week.
“In the Champions League you can exit quickly, there are just two games [in the knockout stages].
“My aim is to win in Hamburg [in Bayern’s next game on January 22]. I want to help the players, that’s it. Of course I want to win all the titles and we will always try.
“If that is not enough to satisfy people then perhaps my qualities are not enough.”