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Next Man City boss: Nine managers tipped to replace Pep Guardiola as ‘exit’ rumours heat up

Ben Stewart
Managers tipped to replace Pep Guardiola at Man City

Who will replace Pep Guardiola?

Pep Guardiola’s existing contract at Manchester City is valid until 2025 and the 53-year-old has been tipped to leave the club when this deal ends.

According to reports from Spain, the serial winner feels ‘less and less sane every day’ and while a final decision on his future hasn’t yet been made, the current feeling within the board doesn’t ‘invite optimism’.

Former Everton chief Keith Wyness thinks that Guardiola’s exit could coincide with the outcome of the 115 charges that currently hang over the club’s head.

“I think he may be ready for a fresh challenge,” Wyness told Football Insider. “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.”

Replacing a manager like Guardiola certainly won’t be straightforward, but we have gathered nine potential managers who could step into his shoes in 2025.

Roberto De Zerbi

Having already been linked with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Liverpool, it only seems natural that Man City would consider De Zerbi when Guardiola eventually calls it quits.

The brand of football would certainly be a hit at the Etihad and the Italian boss has previously spoken about the influence Guardiola has had on his own career.

“I became a coach for Guardiola because I loved his Barcelona,” De Zerbi said last year. “I studied him a lot, I didn’t copy him but I took when I started to be a coach, before when I finished to be a player. Pep is still number one.”

According to Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Davide Chinellato, De Zerbi is ‘at the top of the list’ to replace Guardiola when his contract ends in 2025. Watch this space.

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Michel

Having guided Girona to second in La Liga, it’s only natural that Michel is going to be linked with some of the biggest vaccines from around Europe.

The links to Man City are especially prevalent as Girona are part-owned by the City Football Group. With this in mind, Man City will no doubt have their eye on the 48-year-old boss.

Even Girona’s sporting director, Quique Carcel, has suggested that Michel has the minerals to succeed Guardiola when the time comes.

“He has the talent to lead a big club like Manchester City (but) still needs time to get there to this type of benches,” Carcel told Mundo Deportivo.

“City plays football that Míchel, with a smaller club, is being able to do. Although for him to train them, a lot of coordination has to happen, like Pep (Guardiola) making the decision to leave.

“(He’s) happy in the team, with a contract and with the desire to continue making the project great. The pressures in Girona are different from those he may have on a bigger bench.”

Xabi Alonso

Having already snubbed the Liverpool and Bayern Munich jobs, it would be quite the turn-up for the books if Alonso was then to join Man City.

The Spanish coach seems happy to stick around at Bayer Leverkusen for the time being, but questions regarding his long-term future are still being asked.

Alonso is heavily fancied to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid when the time comes, but could Man City beat them to the punch?

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has backed up the claims that Man City could be Alonso’s next destination, although there are bound to be plenty of clubs fighting for his signature.

“I’ll tell you a little secret,” Balague told BBC’s The Football News Show.

“When he went to Bayer Leverkusen, he told his agent ‘do you know what, I am thinking that if it doesn’t go well at Bayer Leverkusen, I’ll go back to Real Sociedad.

“But if it goes well, from here, it’s Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich.

“Let me add Manchester City to the equation and that’s where Xabi Alonso could go next. When, is a different matter.”

Mikel Arteta

After spending three years as Guardiola’s assistant, Arteta is now considered as one of Man City’s toughest rivals. He’s implemented his own philosophy at Arsenal and has taken the club from eighth into title contention.

Whether he’d switch the Emirates for the Etihad is another question, but the 42-year-old is certainly held in high regard by the Man City board.

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Enzo Maresca

Another of Guardiola’s former assistants is now making a name for himself in the managerial game. Maresca was Guardiola’s assistant during the treble-winning season and he left the club last summer to take the Leicester City job.

He’s impressed since taking over at the King Power too, winning the Championship with 97 points and quickly implementing his possession-heavy system.

Given the resources available to him, he was expected to deliver promotion, but winning a league as demanding as the Championship can never be overlooked.

The real test for Maresca will come next season as he’ll be tasked with keeping the Foxes in the Premier League. If he’s able to do that, Man City could potentially come calling.

Vincent Kompany

Having racked up 360 appearances for the club, Kompany’s links to Man City are obvious. He started his managerial career in 2020 with Anderlecht and then took the Burnley job in 2022.

He did an excellent job during his first year at Turf Moore, winning the Championship and accumulating an impressive 101 points along the way.

However, there’s no denying that Kompany’s stock has taken a hit this year, given how much his side has struggled to adapt to the Premier League.

Guardiola himself has tipped Kompany to return to the Etihad one day, but it remains to be seen if the Man City board would view him as a worthy candidate.

“Maybe he doesn’t agree with me, but having seen his teams I’m more than convinced today he’s going to come back,” Guardiola told reporters last year when discussing Kompany.

“When? When I said my feelings weeks ago, this part I don’t know. But it’s going to happen.”

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Xavi

With Xavi set to remain as Barcelona boss until the end of next season, the timing could line up for him to replace Guardiola when his contract expires.

Given both Xavi and Guardiola are cut from the same cloth, it’s not totally outlandish to think that he would be on Man City’s radar.

Unlike a lot of the other managers on this list, Xavi knows what it takes to win a league title, having won La Liga with Barcelona last season.

Julian Nagelsmann

The German head coach had recently been linked with Bayern Munich and Man Utd, but instead of returning to club football, he instead decided to extend his contract with the German national team.

Nagelsmann is under contract with Germany until 2026, although could Man City tempt him to return to club football before then?

Still just 36 years old, Nagelsmann is the youngest manager on this entire list and it wouldn’t be that surprising to see him in the Man City dugout one day.

Zinedine Zidane

The Frenchman has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid in 2021. He’s recently been linked with Bayern Munich and Man Utd but seems to be holding off from taking either of those jobs.

Zidane certainly knows what it takes to get the best out of world class players and while his philosophy differs from Guardiola’s, he absolutely has a winning formula up his sleeve.

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