Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

End of an era at Man City as five-time Prem winner eyes ‘perfect’ Saudi move and Guardiola exit heats up

Man City manager Pep Guardiola, right-back Kyle Walker

Speculation over the futures of Pep Guardiola and Kyle Walker is swirling

Kyle Walker is growing more and more receptive to ditching Manchester City for the Saudi Pro League, while speculation Pep Guardiola will walk away from the Etihad is also mounting.

Man City have been the dominant force in English football over the last seven seasons. Guardiola’s side have won five of the last six Premier League titles and will be crowned champions once again this season if they win their four remaining matches.

City have maintained their sky high standards despite revamping their squad over recent years. Indeed, the likes of Vincent Kompany, Aymeric Laporte, Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling were all important figures at City, though have all been replaced.

Another who has been a mainstay in numerous title-winning campaigns is right-back Kyle Walker. However, despite signing a new contract that runs until 2026 last September, a fresh report from the Sun claims his future could lay in Saudi Arabia.

They stated Walker is growing increasingly receptive to the idea of swapping the EPL for the SPL. Factoring into his reasoning why is the knowledge his ‘turbulent love life’ won’t attract the same level of ‘frenzied media scrutiny’ in the middle east as it does in England.

Walker has reportedly spoken with former teammate Mahrez who joined Al-Ahli last summer. The feedback Walker has received has been positive and it’s also claimed Walker’s wife – Annie Kilner – would also greenlight their family’s move to Saudi Arabia.

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Walker open to ‘perfect’ Saudi switch

The Sun quote a source as saying: “Kyle has been thinking about his future after the Premier League and thinks a move to Saudi could be perfect for him, Annie, and their kids when he is done here.

“He has been speaking to Riyad about the football clubs out there and what life is like for people who move there. Obviously, the lifestyle is vastly different.

“Kyle loves playing for Man City and is devoted to the club but he has his head screwed on and has been thinking about what the future holds for him when his time in the Prem and for England is done.”

Whether Walker would seek to leave City this summer or wait until 2025 or 2026 wasn’t specified in the piece.

Nonetheless, the Sun’s source doubled down on the claims Walker would “relish” the new opportunity.

“His conversations with Riyad have opened his eyes to what it is really like to play for the clubs out there and what the reality would be if he moved there,” continued the source.

“It is something Kyle and Annie have discussed too and she would be open to relocating there at some point in the future with their kids.

“And, of course, there would be a lot less public scrutiny on him which he would relish, especially after the past few months of turmoil which has been so publicly played out.”

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Guardiola’s time at Man City reaching its end?

Elsewhere, manager Pep Guardiola has been backed to quit Man City if the result of the investigation into the club’s alleged financial malpractice is not a positive one.

Regardless of what happens with the 115 charges, former Everton chief, Keith Wyness, thinks that Guardiola is naturally coming towards the end of his time with Man City anyway.

“He’s always said that he’s been given assurances that City have done nothing wrong,” Wyness told Football Insider.

“But I think he’s coming towards the end of his natural time at the club anyway, maybe one or two seasons down the road.

“I think he may be ready for a fresh challenge. There’s no doubt that he’s at the top of his game and he’s a superb manager, but everything has its time.

“I think his exit may coincide with the results of these cases. It may just be for football reasons after all.”

Losing a manager like Guardiola would be a hammer blow to Man City, but given the club’s resources, they would fancy themselves to land a suitable replacement.

Guardiola himself hasn’t stated that he will be leaving the club anytime soon, although he has hinted that he would like to work as a national team coach one day.

“I would like to experience living through a World Cup, a Euro Cup, a Copa America, whatever it may be,” Guardiola told ESPN.

“I would like to experience that. I don’t know when, in five, ten, fifteen years, but I would like to play in a World Cup as a coach.”

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