As analysis and debate continues following this week's dramatic Champions League semi-final second legs, UK satellite channel Sky Sports is carrying news that Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has told the club of his desire to leave the Catalan giants at the end of this season.
Pep Guardiola looks set to leave Barcelona.
Guardiola has led the Spanish titans to a host of titles in his four seasons at the club, including back-to-back UEFA Champions League crowns.
However, Barcelona's sensational Champions League semi-final defeat at the hands of Chelsea prompted renewed speculation regarding Guardiola's future, especially in light of the 42-year-old's post-match comments to reporters, in which he said: "My future? I'll make a decision in the coming days. I'll talk with the president and we'll decide what's the best [thing] for the club."
According to Sky Sports, a joint press conference will be held by Guardiola and Barcelona president Sandro Rosell at 11 AM on Friday, April 27.
Rosell has spoken with Guardiola at length during the past 24 hours, and apparently remains hopeful that Guardiola could change his mind and remain as manager. But Spanish sports journalist and Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, who is currently writing Guardiola's autobiography, has told Sky Sports that he believes Guardiola may be planning to manage a Premier League club in the near future.
"He has the urge to coach in another place. He wants to come to the Premier League," Balague told Sky Sports.
"He couldn't make it here as a player. He was close to joining Wigan at one point I believe. Manchester United wanted him at some point, Liverpool and Spurs, but it didn't happen."
Balague also noted the possibility that some of Barcelona's big-name stars could follow Guardiola to England if he was to make the move to the Premier League.
However Balague dismissed the idea that Guardiola's possible exit is a knee-jerk reaction to the Chelsea reversal.
"For six months he has been thinking of leaving. [Another four years at Barcelona] would kill him because of the exhaustion of how he works; the amount of hours he puts in."
"This is not a decision just based on results or players that don't want him anymore or problems in the changing room. It just comes to the point where he tells the chairman he just cannot continue."
Barcelona-based sports paper Sport.es has reported that during their meeting, Rosell handed Guardiola a blank cheque to dictate his terms and also offered him carte blanche on the football side of the club.
Balague remains doubtful that the offer will be enough to keep Guardiola at Barcelona, telling Sky Sports: "The question is, would that blank cheque - the possibility to do anything he wanted at Barcelona - change his mind? I don't know."
"And as a manager he wants to prove himself in the Premier League."
With rumors of potential impending managerial vacancies at both Chelsea and Manchester City, Guardiola's timing could be perfect, and there's no doubt that both clubs could afford his wages and transfer market demands. And what of Liverpool, a big club once linked with signing Guardiola as a player who are currently struggling for league form?
Presently, only one thing is certain: Football fans will be glued to Friday's press conference for the latest saga in football's managerial merry-go-round.