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Man City’s 115 charges and Pep Guardiola’s exit loom on horizon despite historic triumph

Under the shadow of the Premier League’s Richard Masters, the club won its fourth straight title, and his absence said volumes.

Man City’s 115 charges and Pep Guardiola’s exit loom on horizon despite historic triumph

Pep Guardiola celebrates the title with Man City executives, but Premier League chief Richard Masters was at Arsenal CREDIT: Reuters/Molly Darlington

The chief executive of the Premier League was not present at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, which brought attention to the issue at hand.

Richard Masters has made an effort to minimize the importance of his choice to watch Arsenal play at the Emirates rather than watch Manchester City win an unprecedented fourth Premier League title, stating that his decision was not “particularly scientific.”

It would have made sense to travel to north London if Arsenal, not City, had been leading by two points going into the last day of play.

Despite City’s denials, it was difficult to avoid the impression that Masters was glad to avoid the awkward situation of presenting the trophy to the team his organization had filed 115 charges against for alleged financial irregularities.

Therefore, it was left to Alison Brittain, the Premier League chair who maintains a low profile and probably had a lot of City supporters wondering who she was, to give the trophy to Kyle Walker, the captain of City, and strike up a conversation with the players and manager Pep Guardiola.

As Walker raised the Premier League trophy and the City players reveled in becoming the first team in English football history to win four league titles in a row, it is difficult to believe that anyone of the City team was considering those charges too much.

However, there’s also no denying that as City attempts to prolong this extraordinary dominance, the next 12 months could pose two significant challenges, both on and off the field.

Even though City is certain that they will be cleared and that the discussion of asterisks and tarnished titles will end once and for all, the Premier League case alone should cause enough headaches for the upcoming season.

However, City will also need to address the minor issue of Guardiola’s future, which is a different kind of elephant in the room. The City manager’s contract expires at the end of the following season, and when the topic was brought up, he did not give the impression that he would be extending it in any way.

He remarked, “The truth is, I am more likely to be going than staying.” “After speaking with the club, I feel as though I should stay at this time. I’ll be here for the upcoming season, and we can talk then. However, we’ll see [after] eight or nine years [at City].

If found guilty of the charges that now cloud a second straight title win, City could be subject to an unprecedented array of penalties, including point deductions, large fines, and the ultimate sanction of expulsion from the League. However, there are numerous other risks and uncertainties associated with Guardiola potentially declaring retirement a year from now.

Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool who is leaving the team, raised an intriguing point over the weekend when he said that, despite the controversy surrounding the charges, City would not have won four straight games if Guardiola had not been in charge. The Catalan was so moved by this compliment that it nearly brought him to tears on Sunday as he thought back on their rivalry.

Even though City is among the best-run teams in Europe, they will be much weaker without Guardiola, much as Liverpool supporters are unsure of what life will be like after Klopp. To understand how disastrous the loss of a master manager can be, one only needs to glance across the street at the current status of Manchester United following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

Pulling the trigger on another hectic summer
Executives at City will also be aware that they might not be able to maintain this level of strength going forward, at least not for a while.

Guardiola said that they had “got the message from Mikel [Arteta] and his [Arsenal players]” in response to City’s most recent title triumph. He also stated that they would “have to make the right decisions in the next years because they [Arsenal] are here to stay.”

Guardiola seemed to be announcing the start of another hectic summer, and City will undoubtedly see this as a great chance to bolster their position given the uncertainty that lies ahead and the aging of some of their key players.

Next week is Kyle Walker’s 34th birthday, and Kevin De Bruyne’s 33rd birthday is next month. On Friday, John Stones turns 30, and in August, Bernardo accomplishes the same feat. It will be necessary to renew, but at least City can enter this window stress-free from potential impending crises.

As the City supporters celebrated yet another championship victory, they yelled, “Are you watching Arsenal?” They were, and they most likely hold different opinions. As they made their way home to consider what might have been, some Arsenal fans, who now understand how their Liverpool counterparts felt in 2019 and 2022, could be heard chanting “you’re cheats and you know you are” outside the Emirates.

Although City vehemently denies such claims, a season of reckoning is ahead.

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