sport

SAF surprised by Guardiola choice

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Pep Guardiola's decision to join Bayern Munich has caught him by surprise.

Despite being strongly linked with a move to the Barclays Premier League, specifically Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, Guardiola has instead decided he will join the German giants when he ends his sabbatical at the end of the season.

Ferguson is believed to have spoken to Guardiola on a couple of occasions in New York recently, with his own job said to be one of the issues under discussion.

However, within 24 hours of the release of an interview with the Football Association underlining his wish to work in England, news that the former Barcelona coach had signed a three-year contract with Bayern was confirmed.

"I am surprised because I didn't see it coming," said Ferguson.

"All the time the speculation was about clubs in England."

Yet the United boss can also see the sense in Guardiola's decision.

For someone used to stability at the Nou Camp, life in Munich is a much neater fit than the constant upheaval at Chelsea in particular.

"But if you assess it as a coach, Bayern Munich is hard to turn down because they are one of the best run clubs in Europe," Ferguson added.

"They have a fantastic city, a fantastic stadium, good players and good history.

"The place is loaded with players who made the club's history.

"You have Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeness, Gerd Muller and, I think, Sepp Maier. And I'm not sure what role Franz Beckenbauer has now either.

"They have always been that way.

"With all these aspects, it is very easy to choose Bayern Munich."