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BAYERN WANTS PEP BACK – REPORTS

Pep Guardiola is topping Bayern Munich’s shortlist of replacements for Niko Kovac, according to reports in Germany.

The Bundesliga giants are also believed to be monitoring Thomas Tuchel and Erik ten Hag, but it is the Manchester City boss who tops the bill.

Guardiola’s contract runs out at the Etihad Stadium in 2021, but Bayern are hoping to persuade him to return to the Allianz Arena next summer, four years after first leaving Bavaria.

Only a few months ago Guardiola reportedly visited Bayern’s training ground and the directors.

He still owns a flat in the city centre and his family felt at home there. It’s claimed that they are not keen on Manchester, and are now living in Spain again.

Bayern’s bosses are convinced that Guardiola is unhappy at City, having broken his three-year rule in his attempt to win the club’s first Champions League title.

Guardiola felt it was a mistake to stay for a fourth year at Barcelona and only stayed for three during his spell in charge of Bayern between 2013 and 2016.

When he left the club three years ago he promised that he would return, saying: ‘I will come back here, to Germany – maybe as a coach.’

Bayern are now determined to plan ahead, with president Uli Hoeness stressing that they are looking for a ‘long-term solution’.

Guardiola was hugely successful in his three years in Bavaria, winning seven trophies and developing an attractive style of play.

But he failed to deliver the Champions League trophy, losing in the semi-finals three years in a row.

After delivering the domestic treble at City last season, a year after an incredible 100-point season, it has proved a difficult fourth campaign in England.

City are on course for the Champions League knockouts but are way off the pace in the Premier League.

Their 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday, where Guardiola was left furious at refereeing decisions, put them nine points behind league leaders Liverpool after just 12 games.

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