Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Pep Guardiola was his first-choice to succeed him at Manchester United.
Ferguson knew he would leave Old Trafford during the 2012/13 season and he met with Guardiola in New York while the Spaniard was taking a sabbatical from management.
However, Guardiola later announced that he would replace Jupp Heynckes at Bayern Munich.
Ferguson admitted that options were short after Guardiola rejected the chance to take charge of United, meaning David Moyes was eventually handed the reigns.
“I asked Pep to phone me before he accepted an offer from another club but he didn’t and wound up joining Bayern Munich in July 2013,” Ferguson wrote in his new book, Leading.
“Life is such that the best of theories, or the best of intentions, sometimes don’t translate into practice. Believe me, the United board wanted nothing more than to select a manager who would be with the club for a long time.
“When we started the process of looking for my replacement, we established that several very desirable candidates were unavailable. It became apparent that Jose Mourinho had given his word to Roman Abramovich that he would return to Chelsea, and that Carlo Ancelotti would succeed him at Real Madrid.
“We also knew that Jürgen Klopp was happy at Borussia Dortmund and would be signing a new contract. Meantime, Louis van Gaal had undertaken to lead the Dutch attempt to win the 2014 World Cup.”
Guardiola is widely considered to be one of the best managers in the world and it would have been fantastic to have him at United. However, football is full of ifs and buts and it just wasn’t to be. Moyes instead led United through a disastrous campaign but the less said about that, the better.