Pep Guardiola

Taking a look at 5 managerial options for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola hints at exit

Manchester City’s rise to prominence ever since their takeover in 2008 has been rapid and decisive, to say the least. From being one of the most overlooked clubs in the country, the Cityzens have now won eight Premier League titles since 2011/12.

They were recently crowned champions of England once again after a comfortable 3-1 win against West Ham United on final day, which saw them lift their fourth successive title– a new record. This marks Pep Guardiola’s sixth title since joining the club back in 2016, but it seems the Spaniard’s time in Manchester could come to an end.

Guardiola has expressed his desire to move on in several cryptic messages to fans through his press conferences and interviews. While there is no clarity as of now, let’s take a look at the five favourites to replace him.

5. Mikel Arteta | Arsenal | Odds – 10/1

5 managerial options for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola hints at exit
Mikel Arteta acknowledges Arsenal fans. (Getty Images)

Once touted as Pep’s natural successor for Manchester City, Mikel Arteta has now fallen much lower on the list. Most of this is due to his progress with Arsenal since joining them in 2019, and also his outspoken commitment to the Gunners’ cause.

Arteta worked with Guardiola as City’s assistant manager between 2016-19 and played a crucial role in developing some of their attackers. Gifted with a penchant of working with wide forwards, Arteta has worked that magic on the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe since switching to the north London side.

However, considering the effort he has put into recruitment, tactics, and culture at Arsenal, it seems nothing more than a long shot for him to leave the Gunners at this stage.

4. Zinedine Zidane | Free Agent | Odds: 15/2

5 managerial options for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola hints at exit
Zidane during his time managing Real Madrid. (Getty Images)

Zidane has been out of a managerial job since vacating his role with Real Madrid back in 2021. However, he fits the bill perfectly to take over from Guardiola. Known for his successes in the Champions League as a manager, the Frenchman would be the perfect piece for Manchester City’s puzzle, given their current objectives.

Zidane is the only manager in history to achieve a three-peat of UCLs, winning them with Real Madrid between 2016-18. Having won so much both as a coach and a player, Zidane seems like a strong choice for any serious club.

3. Xabi Alonso | Bayer Leverkusen | Odds: 6/1

5 managerial options for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola hints at exit
Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso. (Getty Images)

The former Real Madrid midfielder would love a return to the Santiago Bernabeu to be able to give back to the legendary club following his playing days. However, another challenge at Manchester City may also turn his head.

Alonso finished the current season unbeaten with Leverkusen, winning the Bundesliga by a landslide margin. They are also in the Europa League final and will face Atalanta, before facing FC Kaiserslautern in the DFB Pokal couple of days later.

Alonso was also widely linked with a return to Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp gets ready to vacate the Reds’ hot-seat after nearly a decade in charge. However, he decided to stay at Leverkusen for this season and the next in order to give some serious momentum to the project. Any move would be possible only from the 2025/26 season onwards.

2. Vincent Kompany | Burnley | Odds: 5/1

5 managerial options for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola hints at exit
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany. (Getty Images)

The former Premier League-winning Manchester City captain ranks fairly high on this list, mainly due to his legendary status at the club during his playing days. So far in his career though, he has unfortunately been working with limited resources as Burnley manager and it could be too soon to judge his potential from a stint with them.

The Belgian centre-back made 360 appearances for City, scoring 20 goals and providing 10 assists. One of his most iconic goals won City the Premier League title as they defeated Leicester City 1-0 on the penultimate day of the 2018/19 season. Now, he will be eager to show he can replicate clutch moments as a manager too.

1. Roberto De Zerbi | Free Agent | Odds: 3/1

5 managerial options for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola hints at exit
Former Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi. (Getty Images)

The Italian announced his departure from Brighton & Hove Albion ahead of their final-day Premier League clash against Manchester United. While it did send some waves throughout the football community, De Zerbi was immediately linked with the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now, Manchester City.

The timing of his announcement followed by Pep being coy in his press conferences could hint at something, but it is too soon to conclude. With City’s near-unlimited resources, sky will be the limit for De Zerbi.

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