Pep Guardiola finds himself in unfamiliar territory in the Premier League right now; 22 points adrift of an unbeaten Liverpool and further from the top of the table than he has been with any of his previous sides.
It's no secret that the Manchester City boss is disgruntled, to say the least, about potentially finishing second, and he is out of contract in the summer of 2021. Over the season, we have seen him been linked to Bayern Munich after they sacked Niko Kovac, but the City boss was quick to shut the rumours down by committing his future to the Cityzens.
However, of late, the City boss seems to be afraid of getting the sack if his side lose to Real Madrid in the Champions League. While management has said that they will support Guardiola no matter what, winning silverware over the last couple of years has somewhat become a staple for the blue side of Manchester.
But if he does leave the club in the summer, where will the follically challenged tactician go next?
5. Stay on at City and challenge Liverpool next season
Losing out to Liverpool this season will only cause Guardiola's desire to succeed with Manchester City increase. In fact, if anything he will be more obsessed and determined than ever. City believe their manager will be at the club until the end of next season - when his contract is up - and they are working hard on planning for the 2020-21 campaign already.
He has not ruled out signing an extension. But his managerial history to date suggests that the next season will be his last at the Etihad Stadium. Irrespective of his contract situation, Guardiola will no doubt strengthen his squad in the summer transfer market. A new center-back is a must. He might also look for additions at left-back, in midfield, and on the flanks.
The Cityzens have never held back from splurging the cash on players they think are worth it, and if a couple of extra additions can help the club reclaim the Premier League title in 2021, you can be sure Guardiola would want to stick around for that.
4. Reunite with Xavi in the Middle East
Pep Guardiola and Xavi have already sung praises of each other since their days of working together at Barcelona. Xavi has admitted that he would like to follow in Guardiola's footsteps and manage Barca one day, while the City boss believes his former player has what it takes to reach the upper echelons of football management.
However, these two could very well unite in the Middle East. Xavi is currently the manager of Qatar Stars League football club Al Sadd. It is where he spent his final four years as a player and where he has set up home. The Middle East have lured a number of elite ex-footballers in recent years. Diego Maradona was another big name who was in charge of Dubai club Al Wasl FC in the UAE.
It's not just the ludicrous amount of money the coaches in the Middle East pocket, but a reunion with Xavi, and the fact that the former Spanish international also played in the Middle East in Qatar when he played for Al-Ahli from 2003 to 2005, might be good enough for Guardiola if he decides to take on a new challenge.
3. Barcelona return on the cards
There is no doubt that Pep Guardiola was one of the best, most successful managers Barcelona have had in recent years. During his time at Camp Nou, the 41-year-old won 13 titles including two Champions League titles and three La Liga titles, among other silverware, in a four-year tenure.
His father commented back in December that Guardiola will return to Barcelona one day, and most definitely in a coaching role. The Catalan giants have seen four managers join the club and depart since Guardiola left in 2012. Luis Enrique was the only other manager who came close to Guardiola's influence on the club, winning nine trophies in the three years he was in charge.
Back in 2014, Guardiola told The Guardian he wouldn't coach Barcelona 'in principle' which effectively meant he wasn't completely ruling out a return. He will certainly face a new challenge if he decides to go back now. The goalposts have moved. There are new faces in the squad. But therein lies the challenge. To pick up where he left off. To take a new crop of disciples and fuse their talents with the skills of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, et al.
2. Juventus or PSG? Who wants him more?
Over the past couple of months, both Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have emerged as frontrunners to lure the City boss if he decides to leave the club. Juventus are keen to do 'whatever it takes' to lure the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss to Italy, and president Andrea Agnelli is 'convinced' he is the right man to take the club forward and to the pinnacle of Europe's top table.
Meanwhile, PSG want Guardiola and Xavi to take the reins at the Ligue 1 champions, reuniting the former Barcelona men. According to Le 10 Sport (h/t The Mirror), the French giants want to capture Guardiola as their next manager and make Xavi his assistant. Pep seems to be on a mission to take the biggest and best team in each land and prove to himself he can make the best, better.
Both Juve and PSG have their eye on the coveted Champions League trophy, and Guardiola measures himself against the bar of winning that trophy. A team that craves the Champions League with unlimited funds seems like the perfect place for a manager who craves the Champions League and has experience working with... unlimited funds.
1. Take a break, Guardiola!
Doing four years at Barcelona drained Guardiola and he needed a year off before he went to Bayern Munich, where he did a three-year stint at the Bundesliga club winning three out three titles. From there, he was ready to jump into his work at Manchester City, but Guardiola is starting to look weary here too. And after eight seasons on the trot, maybe it's time for a break.
His wife Cristina splits her week between Manchester and Barcelona, where she has business interests, while their two sons are completing studies in England. The small distance of four days apart is seen as having improved the family's quality of life. After all, it is better that Pep is looking forward to seeing his family than being constantly consumed by the next match.
That said, only one person knows what is next for him. Guardiola is and always has been his own man.