London - Pep Guardiola's announcement that the Premier League will be his destination after he leaves Bayern Munich in May has sent a ripple of excitement through English football.
"I have several offers from England, but have not yet committed myself," the 44-year-old former Barcelona coach told a press conference on Tuesday.
But which club is most likely to secure Guardiola's much coveted services.
It is an open secret that City have been preparing the ground for Guardiola's arrival for several years and they are the strong favourites to appoint him, The Times even describing the move as "almost certain". City's owner Sheikh Mansour sees in Guardiola a coach capable of bringing dazzling football to the Etihad Stadium and, crucially, helping the club make a long-awaited breakthrough in the Champions League. Despite huge investment over the last seven years, which has yielded two Premier League titles, City are yet to progress beyond the last 16 in Europe's elite competition. City's hierarchy is custom-made for Guardiola to slot into, with chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Beguiristain having both worked alongside him during his staggeringly successful time at Barcelona. City's current manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has become resigned to the situation and admitted recently: "Some day he'll come here."
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is another long-term Guardiola admirer and is thought to have made unsuccessful attempts to lure him to Stamford Bridge in the past. With Guus Hiddink currently in charge on an interim basis following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea are in search of a new manager and the thought of Guardiola taking over a squad shaped by his former Real Madrid nemesis is a tantalising one. A cultured man, Guardiola cited a desire to sample "new restaurants" as one of the reasons behind his decision to leave Munich and he will find more of those in London than Manchester. But he is believed to harbour concerns about Abramovich's propensity for hiring and firing, and would also prefer to join a club expected to qualify for next season's Champions League. Chelsea are currently 13 points below the Champions League places in the Premier League after a dismal season to date.
Louis van Gaal's position as United manager appears to be slightly more secure after a flurry of speculation about his future over the Christmas period. United's board is believed to favour giving the experienced Dutchman time to turn things around and feels that in assistant manager Ryan Giggs, his long-term successor is already in the Old Trafford dug-out. But another prolonged slump will leave Van Gaal vulnerable and Guardiola, a football romantic, is said to be attracted by the idea of restoring United to the heights of the Alex Ferguson era.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has given no indication that he is contemplating leaving, but he is now in his 20th year at the club and should his side end their 12-year wait for a Premier League title this season -- they top the table with 18 games remaining -- the 66-year-old could see it as an opportunity to bow out on top. Wenger's squad is configured to play the kind of sharp, passing football that Guardiola loves and the Catalan has spoken admiringly of Arsenal in the past, saying that they "always play in a good style". Joining Arsenal would also present the chance to live and work in London, which is thought to appeal to Guardiola's wife, Cristina Serra. Guardiola himself enjoys city living, notably spending time in New York during his sabbatical year after leaving Barcelona in 2012.