Can you see any of these in the Man City dugout next year?

6 Pep Guardiola disciples that could succeed him at Man City in 2025

An explosive new report has claimed that Pep Guardiola will leave Manchester City when his contract expires next summer.

The Daily Mail report that the 2024-25 campaign will be Guardiola’s last at City, following an unprecedented period of dominance.

The Catalan coach has just led the club to a history-making fourth successive Premier League title, and six in seven years, which is the kind of dynasty that only Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United can boast.

It will be fascinating to see what’s next for Guardiola, while he’ll leave big shoes to fill at the Etihad.

The Man City hierarchy will surely be looking for a continuation of both this style and this success, so we’ve identified six Guardiola disciples that could succeed him in 2025.

Xavi Hernandez

Only Lionel Messi made more appearances for Guardiola’s era-defining Barcelona than Xavi, the iconic captain who acted as the on-pitch conductor of Guardiola’s game-changing tactical approach.

The 44-year-old is currently available, speaks English, and is also an evangelist of the church of Johan Cruyff. He led Barcelona to the La Liga summit in his first full season at the helm, the club’s only league title of the last five years, amid their financial turmoil.

The 2023-24 campaign didn’t go to plan but even amid the usual off-pitch drama he led Barca to a second-place finish with a respectable tally of 85 points.

“I want to give Xavi my support,” Guardiola told reporters during Barcelona’s tricky patch in January 2024.

“It’s easy to blame the coach, but the players must step up! No secret, they are the ones playing. It’s not just the coach’s fault, we know this job only lasted five years. The players need to step up.”

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Pep Guardiola’s 30 most-used players throughout his career?

Xabi Alonso

Not an out-and-out Guardiola disciple as with others in this list, Alonso has frequently spoken of his great respect for Guardiola. He played under Pep during his twilight years at Bayern, but he’s similarly influenced by old mentors Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho.

“Those last three years [in Munich] had a great influence and impact on my way out of football. To return to football where I finished, I felt closer to that,” noted Alonso when asked why he opted for Leverkusen as his first senior managerial job,” Alonso said.

“I tried to be curious about the manager’s work, not just playing, I was trying to ask to be close to them. I had that feeling already, when I was especially at Bayern in my last years. I was already thinking about how I could see myself in a few years.”

You can certainly see hallmarks of Guardiola’s fluid positional play in Alonso’s double-winning Bayer Leverkusen this season, but their 3-4-3 system and their approaches in and out of possession are their own unique, innovative thing – a Guardiola staple in itself.

There isn’t a young coach with a better reputation than Alonso right now, after what he did to end Bayern’s 11-in-a-row.

He reportedly batted away interest from both Bayern and Liverpool and appears fully focused on leading Leverkusen into the Champions League next season.

Alonso will have no shortage of offers next summer, either. We can definitely see him succeeding another old boss, Carlo Ancelotti, at Real Madrid in a year’s time.

But City would mount an enticing proposal.

READ NEXT: An outrageously good XI left out of Xabi Alonso’s ultimate Champions League XI

TRY A QUIZ: The Ultimate Pep Guardiola Quiz: 30 tough questions to test your knowledge of a tactical genius

Enzo Maresca

The Italian, who has just led Leicester back into the Premier League, is currently one of the frontrunners for the Chelsea job.

Signing a contract at Stamford Bridge would surely rule him out of a return to City in a year’s time, but the fact he’s under consideration speaks of his standing in the game right now.

The former Juventus midfielder served as Man City’s Elite Development Squad manager, leading the youth team to the Premier League 2 title in 2020-21, and later worked closely with Guardiola in City’s treble-winning 2022-23 campaign.

Vincent Kompany

The legendary former Manchester City captain was talked up as one day succeeding Guardiola after leading Burnley to 100 points in the Championship, with the Clarets playing a stylish brand of Guardiola-influenced possession football in the process.

Fast forward a year and the prevailing thought was that Burnley’s miserable 2023-24 Premier League campaign, in which they won just five matches and picked up fewer points than Luton, torpedoed the 38-year-old’s chances of landing a top job.

Enter Bayern Munich, who’ve made us look very silly.

The Bavarian giants have evidently been impressed by Kompany’s dogmatism, wedded to a Guardiola style, and will hope that with dominant force Bayern he’ll be able to replicate the kind of results he delivered with Burnley in the Championship.

This one’s a bit of a long shot. Either Kompany is a great success in the Bundesliga, in which case he likely won’t be available in 2025, or he’ll crash and burn, in which case he probably wouldn’t be considered by City.

But there is a third option, in which Kompany does a decent job, banking some credit for his burgeoning reputation, yet ends up not lasting long amid the infamously incessant politicking of the Bayern hierarchy – i.e. the same fate that befell predecessors Hansi Flick, Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel.

Whatever happens, working at a club like Bayern will prove invaluable experience for Kompany.

Wayne Rooney, Vincent Kompany, Ronald Koeman.

READ: 7 managers who magically failed upwards after disappointment: Kompany, Rooney, Lampard…

Mikel Arteta

If Kompany is a long shot, we’re calling this a one-in-a-million.

Arteta appears fully bought into the project at Arsenal and it’s almost impossible to imagine him jumping ship any time soon, given what they’re building over at the Emirates.

Guardiola’s former assistant has transformed the Gunners into City’s most viable challengers and it’s not difficult to imagine them going one better in the Premier League next season.

That’s exactly why, credentials-wise, Arteta is probably the best possible candidate to succeed his old boss. He’s been there before and is increasingly establishing himself as one of Europe’s top coaches, proven in the Premier League.

Landing his signature would be a different question altogether, but City can promise a level of financial backing that Arsenal can’t.

We still can’t see it, if we’re being honest with ourselves, but a year is a long time in football and who knows what the next 12 months have in store.

Juanma Lillo

Strictly speaking, Guardiola is more of a Lillo disciple than the other way around. When Guardiola was captain of Barcelona back in 1996, he visited Real Oviedo coach Lillo, seeking answers on his impressive and innovative tactical set-up.

That conversation sowed the seeds for Guardiola eventually appointing the Spaniard, who talks as good a game as anyone in football, as Arteta’s replacement to be his assistant at City in 2020.

Very little of Lillo’s journeyman managerial CV screams the next City boss, with countless stints at low-ranking Spanish clubs alongside some eyebrow-raising spells in Mexico, Japan, China, Colombia and Qatar.

So it would be a major risk, but a fascinating one, and there’d be a degree of logic in turning to Guardiola’s right-hand man if they’re looking for a continuation of the dynasty Guardiola has built at the Etihad.