Though it's tough to know what to entirely make of it, beIN Sports' Arabic Twitter account is reporting Pep Guardiola has a verbal agreement with Manchester City to replace Manuel Pellegrini as the side's manager.
The verified account tweeted the report 30 minutes before Bayern Munich kicked off against Augsburg. At the time of this article's publication, the report has yet to make it to beIN Sports' Arabic or English websites. Richard Keys, a beIN Sports pundit, also tweeted that he understands the Guardiola report to be "true".
To add to the intrigue, NBC Sports' Kyle Martino tweeted that NBC had reached out to Pep's agent and were no commented, only to delete the tweet moments later. So what's the straight dope? While the report seems conceivable enough at face value, is there enough there for Bayern backers in Pep's corner to worry?
Why it makes sense
There's no question that neither of Guardiola's first two seasons has ended the way he, the organization, nor the club's fans would've wanted them to. Though Guardiola's two Bayern teams have won the Bundesliga in resounding fashion, the manner in which they did so (wrapping up the Bundesliga several match days before the finish) has left the team unable to stay in-form for their more important European matches.
A year removed from a disappointing semifinal which saw them shutout against ultimate champions Real Madrid, Bayern again laid an egg in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League semifinal, this time against Guardiola's former club, Barcelona.
Though Guardiola won the DFB-Pokal his first season at the helm of Bayern, the club exited in just the semifinals against arch-rival Borussia Dortmund in an embarrassing showing in penalties. To put the random events that seemingly unfold in penalties squarely on the manager is an exercise in futility, but the outcome none the less and a side that months again seemed well positioned to make a run at a treble finishing with a likely "just" league crown to show for it has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many.
And that is to say nothing of the controversy surrounding the club's long time chief medical officer Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt.
This is but Pep's second major club managerial position (and third overall in his career as a skipper), but it's long been speculated he's had wanderlust and had been planning a departure, though more realistically in a season or two. Whether that culminated in taking a shot at managerial a national team or a move to England or Italy, though it'd be a bit expedited, the prospects of him departing wouldn't come as a total shock. Particularly with many souring a bit on his run as manager, the stars might have aligned perfectly for such a move.
Why it does not make sense
The fact that Guardiola's crowning accomplishment is a league and cup double makes his tenure feel frankly unresolved. Having never taken Bayern to the same heights he took Barcelona in Europe too could mean extra motivation to finish what he started and not be perceived as getting out when it was most convenient to.
To put all the blame on the manager is hard to do in terms of how the 2014-15 campaign came to fruition. With a historic avalanche of injuries, regardless of who was at the helm, one of the most complete sides in the world was simply going to be a shell of its former self with the kind of personnel limitations at play.
With a possible summer of big spending ahead and plenty left to accomplish for the Deutscher Meister, Guardiola departing for a relative rebuilding job seemingly just for a change of scenery doesn't seem in line with what we know about the manager overall.
Pep is well known to have relationships within the Manchester City FC organization, and his reputation as forward thinking and a bit of a flight risk alike makes rumors like this an inevitability. They also seem just palpable enough to buy.
But because there's so much left for Guardiola and Bayern to accomplish together, one cannot assume this is an inevitability, at least this early in the two sides' relationship together.
There remain a lot of variables at play, and this situation will unquestionably stay fluid, but for now, our wager is this is more unfounded than not.