Guardiola identifies replacement after telling players 'that's the next Man City manager'

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • 20 Oct 2023 09:48 BST
  • 4 min read
Pep Guardiola, Roberto De Zerbi
© ProShots

Pep Guardiola has already identified his heir at Manchester City after reportedly telling Brighton players that Roberto De Zerbi is the club’s ‘next’ manager.

De Zerbi has impressed since replacing Graham Potter at the Amex Stadium one year ago, leading the Seagulls to European qualification for the first time in the club’s history despite only taking over after the season had begun.

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Brighton secured a top six finish by drawing with Guardiola’s side in the penultimate match of last season, while City themselves were celebrating another Premier League title win on their way to claiming a historic treble.

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The Telegraph claim that Guardiola approached three of the Brighton’s players in the tunnel after the 1-1 draw and stated ‘that’s the next Man City manager’ while gesturing to De Zerbi, who was out of ear shot further away.

Guardiola had repeatedly praised De Zerbi over the course of the season, lauding his tactics and style of play, even suggesting the Italian was one of the most influential managers of the last 20 years.

There have already been reports that Guardiola will leave City when his contract expires in 2025, which would take him into his ninth year as the club’s manager and De Zerbi is believed to be a favourite inside the club to succeed him when the time comes.

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City host Brighton again this weekend on the back of successive league defeats for the first time in nearly five years, with the champions looking to avoid a third straight Premier League loss – something which has never happened under Guardiola.

The Spaniard’s impeccable record would be a tough act to follow for any manager, particularly one such as De Zerbi, who has won just two trophies in his career – the Serie C with Foggia in 2016 and a Ukrainian Super Cup with Shakhtar Donetsk.

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However, Guardiola’s endorsement is sure to be taken into account if he does leave in two year’s time, although a formal decision has yet to be made, with a contract renewal still a possibility for the ex-Barcelona boss.

De Zerbi is not the only Premier League manager to have ‘Pep’s seal of approval’, with Mikel Arteta likely to be targeted by City having spent time as Guardiola’s assistant prior to joining Arsenal and both candidates could be earmarked to make the switch to the Etihad Stadium sooner rather than later.

Read more about: Premier League, Brighton, Man City

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