Inside Pep Guardiola’s Man City legacy and the plans for when he leaves

With 10 trophies in five years, including three Premier League titles, Pep Guardiola’s legendary status at Manchester City is already assured.

Guardiola can write another chapter in his remarkable City success story by beating Chelsea on May 29 to land the club’s first Champions League crown and his third as a manager.

And having committed himself to City until 2023 after signing a new deal last November, there is the tangible prospect of two more years of domination from Guardiola’s formidable squad.

But what then? It might seem churlish and premature to ponder life after Guardiola before City have even held the Premier League trophy aloft following their latest title triumph, but the club hierarchy know that day will come around soon and they must be prepared when it does.

Pep Guardiola has won 10 trophies since arriving as Man City manager

One look across the city of Manchester at local rivals United, and the turmoil they have endured since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down in 2013, is all it takes to see how not to handle a succession plan when an iconic and hugely successful manager leaves.

Only last month, Guardiola admitted City must get it right and ensure the legacy of success he has built is not allowed to crumble, as it was at United when Ferguson left, when he eventually does call it a day.

“The players and manager that are coming after us have to continue what we have done in this five years together,” said Guardiola.

“The club must not stop and say ‘Pep is not here anymore’. There is no time to wait. The new one has to do it. The players have to do it.”

United are now on their fourth manager of the post-Ferguson era and have gone eight seasons without winning the title, with sporadic success in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.

Manchester City Training, Abu Dhabi, H.H Sheikh Mansour speaks with Chairman of Manchester City Football Club Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Pep Guardiola and Willy Caballero during their mid season training camp in Abu Dhabi (Photo by Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
Sheikh Mansour and Man City’s bosses are planning for life after Pep Guardiola

City cannot afford a similar fall from grace when Guardiola decides his time is up, with the 50-year-old keen to ensure his legacy of being a serial winner is continued by whoever succeeds him.

When it looked as though this may have been Guardiola’s last season, before he committed to a new deal after a meeting with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak while holidaying in the Maldives with his family during the November international break, City looked at potential successors.

Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, out of work at the time, and Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers were the front-runners, while Julian Nagelsmann, RB Leipzig’s forward-thinking young coach, who will take over at Bayern Munich this summer, was also considered.

But any plans to appoint a successor were put on hold when, after a candid heart-to-heart with Khaldoon, Guardiola penned his new deal, although life after Pep will come around sooner than City want, with Rodgers tipped as the man to take over when that time comes.

For now, at least, City have no such concerns, with Guardiola re-energised after his latest title triumph, which he described as the hardest of his career, and eyeing the one prize to so far elude him in England – the Champions League.

Wrapping up the title with three games to spare was the perfect scenario for Guardiola, allowing him to rest key players ahead of the final and not take any unnecessary risks with them.

As well as the Champions League final, lanning is already under way for City to strengthen their squad this summer, with a striker – to replace Aguero – the priority.

United’s decision to extend Edinson Cavani’s contract is likely to provide City with a free run at signing top target, Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, while Tottenham and England forward Harry Kane is also an option.

Elsewhere, Guardiola is likely to look to address the long-standing issue at left-back, as well as recruiting a holding midfielder to replace Fernandinho, with West Ham’s Declan Rice the first-choice target.

Whatever their business this summer, City will do all they can to stay ahead of the chasing pack in the Premier League and look to cement their status as arguably the best side in Europe right now.

A first Champions League win in 16 days’ time would end any debate about that and elevate Guardiola’s side to a new and exalted level.

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