Bayern Munich structure will have impressed Pep Guardiola says Owen Hargreaves

Former Barcelona manager will take over in Germany in July

Former Bayern Munich and England midfielder Owen Hargreaves believes Pep Guardiola has made a shrewd decision in choosing the Bundesliga above the Barclays Premier League.

Guardiola was yesterday named as the next Bayern manager, with his three-year contract beginning in the summer when Jupp Heynckes steps down and retires.

Chelsea, last year's Champions League winners, have been repeatedly linked with the man Blues owner Roman Abramovich is reputed to admire greatly.

Reports have claimed Guardiola was offered a highly lucrative contract to take over at Stamford Bridge when interim manager Rafael Benitez's stint in charge finishes at the end of the season, and it has been confirmed that he turned down more money from elsewhere to go to Bayern.

Chelsea have never confirmed their interest in the former Spain midfielder, but his record at Barca - where he won 14 trophies in four years - made Guardiola the most sought-after out-of-work coach in world football.

Hargreaves said on BBC Radio Five: "There aren't many clubs within European football that have the stability and structure that Bayern Munich has in place.

"People look at the glamour of the Premier League and its global appeal but I think he probably saw the structure in place at the club, the success of the club and quality of the players. And the facilities and the stadiums are better than anywhere in the world, I would guess.

"I think he's probably looked at all aspects and, in my opinion rightfully so, thought that's the best destination for him."

It emerged that Guardiola signed up for Bayern before Christmas.

His agent Josep Maria Orobitg said: I don't know exactly which day, around the 20th or the second half of December."

Speaking on EFE Radio, Orobitg added: "He chose Bayern because of all the teams from which he had offers it was the best.

"We were looking over the offers and this isn't the team which offered the most money. It was chosen for the organisation there, for the potential that he sees, and for their players."

Since leaving Barcelona last summer, Guardiola has taken a career break and lived in New York, but now Bavaria and the Bundesliga beckons.

"I can imagine that he was overwhelmed by offers," said Franz Beckenbauer, the Bayern honorary president.

Beckenbauer told Germany's Sky Sport News HD: "I have to congratulate Bayern for bringing in Guardiola."

Guardiola's appointment came as a shock to former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Villas-Boas, now at Tottenham, told CNN World Sport: "I'm so surprised that I asked my media advisor from Tottenham if it was true. Obviously it's a big, big club - one of the biggest clubs in the world - in a league where we didn't maybe expect Guardiola to be in."

Trizia Fiorellino, chair of the Chelsea Supporters Group, told Press Association Sport she saw no obvious candidate to step in this summer at Stamford Bridge after Guardiola chose Bayern.

Fiorellino said: "I think the fans are just wondering what this means for us.

"I don't think Roman Abramovich made any secret Guardiola was our first choice.

"It's time to look elsewhere but there's no-one really available.

"Some are hoping Jose (Mourinho) comes back, others fancy Jurgen Klopp, the Borussia Dortmund manager."

PA

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