Pep: I was almost a Wiganer!

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has lifted the lid for the first time on the sequence of events that almost led to him becoming a Wigan Athletic player over a decade ago.

The Spaniard is preparing for his first trip to the DW Stadium for Manchester City’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Latics on Monday night (7.55pm kick-off).

But if Paul Jewell had his way, Guardiola would have graced the stadium in 2005-06...as a Latics player!

After guiding Latics into the Premier League, Jewell earmarked Guardiola – then 34, and a free agent having completed a two-year deal in Qatar with Al-Ahli – as a potential new signing to help the club compete in the top flight.

However, the deal fell through, and Guardiola joined Mexican outfit Dorados.

On his sliding doors moment, Guardiola smiled: “I was not good enough (for Wigan)...that is the truth, yeah!

“I was old – really old – as a football player to come here.

“I tried to come here to play in English football, like a football player, but I was not able.

“Wigan were interested in me, I didn’t choose the club.

“It didn’t happen and that’s all.

“But they were so clever...because I was not good enough!”

Guardiola had earlier in his career been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal but, for whatever reason, he never made the move.

And having taken the decision to continue his management journey over here, he says he has no regrets.

“I said many times, I’m so happy, I’m delighted to be here,” the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss added.

“Overall it’s been good. My feeling is quite similar to last season, it’s good.”