With Bayern Munich on the verge of making history, will their next manager be able to match such success?
His name was on the end of hashtags and headlines from every corner of the world, and yet when he did finally announce his next destination, it was something of a curveball.
While Roman Abramovich prepared his best charm offensive, Guardiola was brushing up on his German.
And it seems highly likely that conversations from Abu Dhabi to the Etihad were rife with talk of compensation packages and considerable transfer funds; only for the latter conversation never to be had with the Spaniard.
With time for reflection, his impending move to Bayern Munich made perfect sense.
Here was a club with great history, beginning to regain some of their previous reputation and success. A consistent presence in the Champions League with realistic aspirations of winning it, with a squad the envy of many and a manager, in Jupp Heynckes, who had announced this to be his last season in charge.
Having won all he could in Spain, Guardiola had set his sights on doing the same in Germany.
The problem for the ex-Barca man is that Heynckes is doing a pretty good job of that himself.
Having won the Bundesliga with six games to spare – the earliest success in the league’s history – Bayern can now turn their attention to the German Cup and the Champions League, of which they are in the semi-final of one and the quarter-final of the other.
What a leaving present it would be both from and to their departing manager, if Bayern could achieve the treble for the first time in their history.
There is still much football to be played. But Bayern will fancy their chances in the German Cup against a Wolfsburg team currently twelfth in the league. While their 2-0 first leg lead against Juventus suggests a place in the last four of the Champions League is all but secure.
The simple fact is: Bayern have been all-but-invincible, having lost only one league match in their entire campaign.
They have conceded only two league goals away from home all season and have a 100% record since the winter break.
Should they go on to win a treble that gets closer every game, Guardiola may be on a hiding to nothing when he finally arrives.
To match near-perfection may be too much to ask even of him. But for now we should simply revel in the success of his predecessor – who has quietly led his club to the verge of making history.
Has Guardiola signed up for an impossible task? And what could he have brought to the clubs he turned down?
image: © tpower1978