What happens when EPL owners discuss who gets Guardiola
With the big boys struggling, football's elite is panicking more than Christian Benteke in the penalty box. So the top clubs' chiefs convened for a meeting to discuss their future and argue over who gets Pep Guardiola next season. With tongue in cheek, our writer imagines what happened
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich: Before we start, has anyone seen my axe?
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez: Yes, here it is. Sorry, I couldn't find my own.
Abramovich: You could've wiped the blood off first. There are still traces of a crying Spaniard on here.
Perez: What can I say? I've been busy this week unveiling the greatest manager in world football.
Abramovich: What happened?
Perez: Well, Pep Guardiola turned me down. So I'm stuck with Zinedine Zidane.
Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour Zayed al Nahyan: That's because Guardiola is coming to Manchester City.
A Glazer, one of Manchester United's owners: No, he's coming to us at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers...
What? This is the English football meeting?... That's the one with the round ball right?
Strike that... Pepperoni is coming to Manchester United.
Sheikh Mansour: It's Pep. His name is Pep Guardiola. Who are you again?
A Glazer: I'm one of the Glazer family. There are a lot of us. So this Pepper Pots, what makes you think he'll pick your Manchester City over my Tampa Bay?
Sheikh Mansour: Well, Mr Glazer. For a start, we actually understand our sport. We know football. We grasp its fundamentals and Pep respects that. He knows that we know what we're doing.
Perez: Didn't you guys sign Raheem Sterling for £50 million ($104m)?
Sheikh Mansour: Let's not split hairs, eh? We've all made mistakes, Perez. How did Rafa work out for you?
A Glazer: I agree. You wouldn't see us signing tennis players to manage our football clubs, no matter how many times they've won the French Open.
Perez: Should these Glazers even be at this meeting? This is a meeting for real football people discussing real football talent.
I've just made the greatest footballer of all time the manager of my club.
Valencia owner Peter Lim: No, you haven't. I have.
Abramovich: With all due respect, I don't think anyone here is going to say that Gary Neville is the greatest footballer of all time.
Lim: That's what my football advisers told me.
Abramovich: Who are your football advisers?
Lim: Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and David Beckham.
Abramovich: Well, you might want to tell them that the best player of all time is, of course, John Terry?
Perez: Who told you that?
Abramovich: John Terry.
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan: Would anyone like to read an adult magazine while we wait? I've got plenty to choose from.
Look at that cover there. Woo-hoo. Now that's what I call a pair of…
Perez: Excuse me, who are you?
Sullivan: I'm the owner of West Ham, mate. I was told there was a meeting among the top clubs.
Perez: Correct. So why are you here?
Sullivan: Have you seen the table lately, flower? We're up there with United and City.
In fact, I don't even know why Chelsea are here.
Abramovich: Okay, moving on, we need to look at the January transfer window and Pep Guardiola because ...
Liverpool owner John W Henry: Sorry, I'm late. I had trouble finding this place.
Henry: I asked Brendan Rodgers for directions. I was settling his payoff at the time. He spent so long talking about the need for spirit and commitment that we both forgot where I was going.
Abramovich: A bit like Christian Benteke, eh?
Henry: I'm sorry, Roman, I can't really see you behind your guillotine.
Abramovich: That's funny, Henry. How's the revolution under Juergen Klopp?
Henry: Better than the one they had in Russia. How's Jose Mourinho?
Abramovich: Better off than your back four.
A Glazer: Guys, guys, please. We shouldn't argue. We are better than that. We are here to address important issues and ask the bigger questions like, what's a back four?
Perez: Oh, for heaven's sake. I missed an axe-sharpening session for this?
Sheikh Mansour: Exactly. We should be addressing who gets the best coach in the game...
No, Peter, I'm not talking about Gary Neville. I meant Guardiola.
A Glazer: Don't worry. The Glazers will make the best offer for Gatorade.
Sheikh Mansour: Dear me, we have got to do something about this guy.
Abramovich: Look, Glazer, you don't understand the English game and it's clear you know absolutely nothing about football. So you leave us with no choice.
Sullivan: That's right. You're gonna have to become the next Aston Villa manager.