Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By STU­ART BREN­NAN

PEP Guardiola has signed a new three-year con­tract with City.

And the new deal, aimed at keep­ing him at the new Premier League cham­pi­ons until 2021, means that his stay at City will be the long­est of his man­age­rial ca­reer.

Guardiola’s orig­i­nal deal was for three years, and was due to ex­pire next sum­mer – and that had led to fears that the Cata­lan might not stay, af­ter he quit Barcelona af­ter four years and Bay­ern Munich fol­low­ing three. But he has picked up a pay in­crease which re­flects the fact that City won both the ti­tle and the League Cup this sea­son, and has com­mit­ted him­self to try­ing to turn City’s tri­umph this sea­son into sus­tained suc­cess. His new deal comes just four days af­ter goal­keeper Eder­son penned a re­mark­able new deal in­tended to keep him at City for seven years – while Kevin de Bruyne, Nicolas Ota­mendi, David Silva and Fer­nand­inho have all signed new con­tracts re­cently.

With Ra­heem Ster­ling and Gabriel Je­sus ex­pected to fol­low suit this sum­mer, City have moved to tie up their main men. Guardiola has re­peat­edly ex­pressed his hap­pi­ness with life at City and in Manch­ester and in a re­cent in­ter­view he said: “There is al­ways more.

“When I left Barcelona, I thought that my space to rev­o­lu­tionise was ended, but no. We have seen that there is al­ways a way to do new things, es­pe­cially be­cause you have dif­fer­ent play­ers.”

CITY fans have, for the last ten years, been ex­pect­ing to wake up and find it has all been a sweet, sweet dream.

The Blues’ pre­vi­ous ca­pac­ity for get­ting it hope­lessly wrong has led to a world-weary ex­pec­ta­tion that things, even when they seem to be get­ting bet­ter, are bound to fall apart sooner, rather than later.

This sea­son has seen that dream be­come a tran­scen­den­tal vi­sion of love­li­ness on the pitch – so it was bound to end in Pep Guardiola get­ting fed up of the rain and wan­der­ing away. Wasn’t it?

United fans blithely pre­dicted that Guardiola would be on his bike, bored of lit­tle old City af­ter be­ing in charge at Euro­pean mono­liths Barcelona and Bay­ern Munich.

But, lo and be­hold, Guardiola has not only ex­pressed his faith in City as a club, his com­mit­ment to the next three years al­lows them to shift into an­other gear in the race to make them the very best.

In 12 months, Guardiola turned Manuel Pel­le­grini’s tal­ented but aim­less team into a sharp, sub­tle, splen­did foot­ball ma­chine which has smashed records and won two tro­phies this sea­son. Given an­other three years, what can he achieve?

Last sea­son was about evo­lu­tion, teach­ing the play­ers a whole new ap­proach to the game – and as Vin­cent Kom­pany said, at times it felt like try­ing to learn Chinese.

Once it clicked, City were un­stop­pable.

This sea­son is not only a val­i­da­tion of Guardiola’s meth­ods, it also lifts the bur­den ex­pe­ri­enced by any man­ager at an am­bi­tious club who has yet to land some sil­ver­ware.

With that mon­key re­moved, and with a min­i­mum of three years ahead of him, Guardiola can truly step things up.

He will be tweak­ing his team with one or two sign­ings in the sum­mer – pos­si­bly three – but he will also be seek­ing to weave tal­ented youngsters like Phil Fo­den, Brahim Diaz and Tosin Adara­bioyo more closely into the fab­ric of his squad.

Guardiola’s de­ci­sion to sign up for three more years will be hugely pop­u­lar at the City Foot­ball Academy, both with play­ers and staff, and the sense of per­ma­nency and se­cu­rity it brings can only make the tight-knit squad and sup­port staff into an even more for­mi­da­ble out­fit. It also brings a sense of con­fi­dence to the club. City’s emer­gence from mid-ta­ble or­di­nar­i­ness was clearly fu­elled by gain­ing rich new own­ers. But that no­tion, that City com­pete sim­ply be­cause they throw money at prob­lems, is no longer valid. Guardiola has re­ceived a pay in­crease, but he is putting down roots at City be­cause he be­lieves in what he is do­ing, loves work­ing with a com­mit­ted and tal­ented bunch of peo­ple, and is cu­ri­ous to see what they can all achieve to­gether. City now have pulling power beyond the lure of hard cash, and Guardiola is proof of that. They will take some stop­ping next sea­son, and beyond.

City now have pulling power beyond the lure of hard cash, and Guardiola is proof of that Stu­art Bren­nan

Pep Guardiola signs his new con­tract with chief ex­ec­u­tive Fer­ran So­ri­ano, left, and di­rec­tor of foot­ball Txiki Be­giris­tain

Pep Guardiola signs his new three­year City deal

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