Guardiola to ‘quit’? Man City ‘agree’ on ‘ideal successor’ tipped to ‘help sign’ Arsenal target

Jason Soutar
Man City manager Pep Guardiola could be replaced by Xabi Alonso next summer
Pep Guardiola could be replaced by Xabi Alonso next summer

Pep Guardiola has shut down any talk of a return to Barcelona as Manchester City reportedly prepare for the Spanish manager to ‘quit’.

Guardiola’s long-term future at the Etihad has been called into question after he admitted he is “closer to leaving than staying” during City’s Premier League title celebrations.

“The reality is I am closer to leaving than staying,” he said. “We have talked with the club – my feeling is that I want to stay now.

“I will stay next season and during the season we will talk. But eight or nine years – we will see.”

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With Barcelona previously on the search for a new manager and those 115 charges hanging over Man City’s head, there have been lots of rumours that Guardiola could return to the Nou Camp.

One report claimed he ‘will quit’ if City are found guilty of breaking the Premier League’s financial rules, which could result in relegation to the Championship, though Guardiola is ‘coming towards the end of his natural time at the club anyway’.

Should the 54-year-old ‘quit’, he will have plenty of suitors, with Barcelona deemed to be a realistic option.

However, when asked if the door is closed on a return to Barcelona in the future, Guardiola said: “Yes, it is closed.”

This is quite the contrary to what Pep said last year when asked if he would consider managing the Blaugrana again.

He said: “If I am coaching here, or wherever, as a second coach, and Barcelona called me, I will go to Barcelona. It’s my club.”

Man City ‘unanimously agree’ on Guardiola replacement

Replacing Guardiola will be one hell of a task for Man City and reports from England claim that they ‘are poised to make a move for Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso’ should Pep leave the club when his contract expires in 2025.

The City hierarchy are already considering who the best replacement for Guardiola and it is claimed that they ‘unanimously agree that Alonso is the ideal successor’ and ‘believe he can continue his compatriot’s legacy at the club’.

‘A major bonus’ in landing Alonso is that City ‘believe it will help them sign both Bayer’s Florian Writz and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi’.

With Kevin De Bruyne also out of contract next summer, Wirtz has been ‘earmarked’ as a perfect heir. Reported Arsenal target Zubimendi – who worked under Alonso at Sociedad – is someone who can ‘support Rodri in midfield’.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Is Xabi Alonso the best potential Pep Guardiola replacement at Man City? Join the debate here.

Alonso – who is ‘the only candidate that City are “seriously considering” to replace Guardiola’ – has done an outstanding job at Leverkusen, leading them to a Bundesliga and DfB Pokal double.

They only lost one match all term – the Europa League final to Atalanta – and completed an unbeaten domestic campaign.

Alonso was being chased by Liverpool and Bayern Munich before committing his future to Leverkusen.

He is expected to leave Bayer at the end of 2024/25 though, with Real Madrid poised to join the race.

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