Last night, a story came from French TV channel L’Équipe 21, the sports channel arm of the popular French sports newspaper L’Équipe, on a TV show called L’Équipe du Soir.
The report was relayed by the show’s presenter on behalf of France Football journalist Thierry Marchand.
Marchand’s report claimed that last week Manchester United representatives met with Pep Guardiola in a Paris hotel to discuss the possibility of the current Bayern Munich manager becoming the new boss at Manchester United at the end of the season.
The details that Marchand’s report gave were short but precise: the meeting is understood to have been held at the Hotel Bristol on Faubourg St Honoré street.
The report itself carries few details within it and as for the reliability of the journalist in question, Thierry Marchand…
It is important to note that Marchand is rarely in the business of divulging transfer news. He currently writes a series of blog posts on France Football titled You’ll Never Blog Alone, focusing on the English game, but when he does write the odd transfer story or conduct the odd interview, the chances are you would have heard of it.
Marchand has become France Football’s undisputed Barcelona expert. He broke the story of Luis Suarez to Barcelona for France Football on the 5th July 2014 in greater detail than any of the few outlets that got there before FF and also conducted the Lionel Messi and Josep Maria Bartomeu interviews that appear in this week’s magazine edition of France Football.
The bottom line is that this story should be taken seriously. The denial by both Manchester United and Pep Guardiola’s camps to the English media concerning this story is unsurprising to say the least, for obvious reasons.
The fact that Guardiola would be talking to as many clubs as possible before making a decision is also unsurprising, considering his track record of only making a commitment to a club as close to the time that he is supposed to be starting the new project as possible.
Marchand undoubtedly has eyes and ears at Barcelona and it is therefore not much of a stretch of the imagination to think that he has connections with the Guardiola camp too.
Pep Guardiola to Manchester United? Why not…