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Bayern Munich began work on Pep Guardiola's appointment before Christmas

Chelsea will be frustrated to miss out on their number one target
  • @simonrice

Bayern Munich had been secretly working to bring Pep Guardiola in as manager since before Christmas.

The Budesliga side today announced they had got their man and that the former Barcelona manager would take over from the end of the season.

Only yesterday Bayern were issuing denials that Guardiola would become manager, while it had been widely predicted that the 41-year-old would return to management with Chelsea.

Yet the current European champions have missed out on their man, and will be all the more frustrated in the knowledge that Bayern have been working on bringing Guardiola in for the last month and that they missed the opportunity to muscle in on the deal.

The contract of current Bayern manger Jupp Heynckes is due to expire at the end of the current campaign and when the 67-year-old informed the club at the end of last year he would not be seeking an extension and would instead retire, Bayern immediately turned their attention to Guardiola.

Speaking about Heynckes decision to retire at the end of what is his third stint in charge of the German giants, Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "As a club and as Jupp Heynckes' friends we have to show understanding for this decision. We have to accept it and we have to respect it."

"During personal talks with Jupp Heynckes we assured each other that we will do anything we can, and now even more, to have a successful second half of the season 2012/13 where we want to get the title to Munich."

Rummenigge added: "We are very pleased that we have managed to convince the football expert Pep Guardiola, who was coveted and contacted by many top clubs, to come to Bayern Munich."

Bayern Munich chairman Uli Hoeness said: "Following the decision of Jupp Heynckes, whose work we are extremely grateful for, we would be very happy if the team would give this great coach a glorious farewell.

"Only someone of the calibre of coach Pep Guardiola was an adequate replacement for Jupp Heynckes."