Is Pep Guardiola leaving Manchester City? The Spaniard is yet to commit to Manchester City beyond the end of this season and their inconsistent start to the campaign might affect his decision over whether to sign a new deal. Guardiola has won a brace of Premier League titles and a trio of EFL Cups since moving to the Etihad Stadium in 2016 but his reign may be defined by underperformance in Europe. City are reportedly confident that Guardiola – who has never previously spent more than four years in charge of a club – will agree an extension to his contract despite City’s indifferent form. But if Guardiola opts to leave City next year, who are the main candidates to become the next Man City manager? Here are our top five.
Who will be the next Man City manager?
The hype surrounding Julian Nagelsmann is not going away any time soon and it seems inevitable that the 33-year-old will be in charge of an elite club in the next couple of years. Having started out at Hoffenheim, who he led to the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, Nagelsmann has continued to thrive since joining RB Leipzig in 2019.
Nagelsmann masterminded Leipzig’s run to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season and they have made a strong start to 2020-21, despite losing Timo Werner to Chelsea. With a win record of about 60 per cent at Leipzig, Nagelsmann would almost certainly be on City’s shortlist should Guardiola choose to move away at the end of the current campaign.
A lack of experience would be one of the only things counting against Nagelsmann at this point.
If City want to appoint a high-quality manager with Premier League experience, then Mauricio Pochettino would be a top-class option after the Argentine left Tottenham last year. Pochettino’s time at Spurs was undoubtedly a success despite the lack of trophies and disappointing ending, while it is something of a surprise that he remains available
Long linked with Bayern Munich, whose treble win under Hansi Flick means there is no longer a vacancy, Pochettino has also been regularly touted as a replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester therefore seems to be the most likely next destination for the 48-year-old, but it could be at the Etihad where he rocks up for his next job, with Pochettino currently the favourite in the betting odds for the next City manager.
Another elite manager who is out of work, it does not seem likely that Massimiliano Allegri will be looking for a job for too much longer.
The experienced Italian is yet to work outside of his homeland but has reportedly been learning English due to having an eye on a future job in the Premier League.
Allegri won five Serie A titles at Juventus but, in a similar way to Guardiola at City, had a lack of success in European competition. They reached two Champions League finals but lost them both, leading Juve to move on from Allegri – a decision they may now be regretting.
Paris Saint-Germain are currently being linked with Allegri as their coach Thomas Tuchel is reportedly close to the sack, but City might be a more appealing club for the 53-year-old.
Erik ten Hag
Ajax boss Erik ten Hag was part of Guardiola’s coaching staff at Bayern Munich and has a similar philosophy to the City manager, which makes him a very intriguing option to become the next manager of Man City.
Ten Hag’s reputation rocketed during 2018-19 after Ajax’s stunning run to the semi-finals of the Champions League, where Lucas Moura’s hat-trick denied them a place in the showpiece. Ajax have lost a lot of their stars since then but Ten Hag continues to impress, with a recent 13-0 win away to VVV-Venlo setting a new Eredivisie record for the league’s biggest victory.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Many football fans assumed Mikel Arteta was being primed to take over from Guardiola but the Spaniard’s switch to Arsenal opened the door for another candidate who has been at the club. Former Barcelona player Giovanni van Bronckhorst worked closely with Guardiola as part of a role with the City Football Group that prompted suggestions he was being groomed for the role.
Though the Dutchman has since become the manager of Guangzhou R&F in China, van Bronckhorst has told the media he is aiming to work in the Premier League in the future.
An Eredivisie-winning manager with Feyenoord in 2016–17, there is no doubt van Bronckhorst would be something of a leftfield choice for City, but he is surely going to be on their radar. With uncertainty growing over Guardiola, speculation over his successor will continue to build.
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