In May 2008, then President of Barcelona Juan Laporta announced that Pep Guardiola would replace Frank Rijkaard as Barcelona manager. It was an underwhelming announcement to most Barcelona fans. Pep Guardiola, a manager with little experience was announced as manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world. He was inheriting a depleted side, a team full of egos. He was inheriting the 2006 Uefa Champions League winners and 2008 semi finalists. He was inheriting a team that went trophyless the previous season, a team that finished 3rd in the league behind Madrid and Villarreal, a team that lost woefully in the El Classico and was knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Valencia in the Semi final. How was he going to manage the big egos at the club? That was really strenuous and almost unachievable, it was just like telling him to replicate Jesus Christ’s miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish.
The inexperienced Pep Guardiola walked in at Barcelona and was ruthless from the very first day. He publicly declared that Ronaldinho, Deco, E’too and other big names in the Barcelona dressing room were not part of his plans. Barcelona and Pep Guardiola were able to offload all the players he considered “not in his plans” excluding Samuel E’too who also left the season after in a swap deal plus cash for Ibrahimovic. Pep Guardiola defied all odds at Barcelona, he went on to win a treble in his first season and also gifted the world a guy who’s arguably the Greatest football player ever, Lionel Messi. Pep Guardiola did the unprecedented, he fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish in his own way. He won 14 trophies in his four seasons at Barcelona, which made him the most successful coach in the club’s history.
It is a thing to know that reputations mean nothing to Pep. If you don’t have the qualities he is looking for and the desire to work hard, you don’t have a future with him. He will stop at nothing to win, and that is exactly the kind of man Arteta must be at Arsenal to succeed.
When Arteta was questioned on what advice Pep Guardiola gave him in his first press conference at Arsenal, he said “What I have learned mostly is you have to be ruthless“, which is Exactly the kind of attribute he needs to be as successful as his master and to shape this unenthusiastic Arsenal side, but that won’t come easy, he will need the total backing of the board to be that man.