Much has been made of Pep Guardiola's time at Manchester City. The Catalan arrived at the Etihad Stadium to replace Manuel Pellegrini, the Cityzens' Premier League-winning coach, to kickstart a new era as they chased the elusive UEFA Champions League crown.
Guardiola, a two-time winner of the coveted European title with Barcelona, has fallen short on several occasions since his fabled Blaugrana days, and is closing in on a decade without an appearance in the final.
His poor run of results continued at Manchester City, witnessing his side being eliminated by the likes of AS Monaco, Tottenham Hotspur, and, more recently, Olympique Lyon.
These unceremonious exits are made to look even worse when considered along with the resources that the former Barcelona boss has had at City. Guardiola has a net spend that comfortably breaches the £500m barrier, spending more at any club he has ever managed at, and has an appearance in the final — let alone winning the UCL — to show for.
Despite his two majestic Premier League titles, there is a feeling that Guardiola isn't as invincible as he was thought to be, and that his cycle at the club could come to an end in the near future. Should that be the case, here, we take a look at five potential replacements for him.
#5 Erik ten Hag | AFC Ajax
A manager who has personally worked with Guardiola before, Erik ten Hag of Ajax gives City an exciting option to consider given the nature of his philosophy and expansive approach to the game. The 50-year-old worked with Bayern Munich's reserves for nearly two years, which coincided with the Catalan's stay in Bavaria.
Ten Hag saw his stock rise significantly after his heroics with the Amsterdam club in the 2018/19 campaign, during which he led Ajax to the semi-final. More impressively, his side eliminated the likes of Juventus and 13-time champions Real Madrid en-route the penultimate stage, and played some phenomenal football in the process as well.
Ten Hag's record with Dutch champions is nothing short of brilliant. The former FC Twente centre-back has managed Ajax for a total of 120 games, out of which he's registered a whopping 87 victories, 18 losses, and 15 draws, and saw his side score 325 (!) goals in the process. His attack-minded approach, in particular, could appeal to City as a potential Guardiola replacement, should Ten Hag be open to leaving the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
#4 Mikel Arteta | Arsenal
While this might be a bit of a long shot given that the Spaniard has just set off on his managerial career at the Emirates Stadium, Mikel Arteta is undoubtedly an option that City are likely to keep tabs on in the future. The former Gunners midfielder joined Guardiola's coaching staff upon the latter's arrival in England and worked as the Catalan's assistant during the Cityzens' incredibly successful domestic spell.
Arteta left Manchester City for his former club, Arsenal, in the wake of Unai Emery's sacking. And since that moment, there has been no looking back for him. The San Sebastian-native has instilled a sense of character into the side and revived a squad that was devoid of inspiration. He led them to an FA Cup and the Community Shield in his first few months in charge. His Arsenal side beat Guardiola's City in the semi-final and emerged victorious over Chelsea in the final.
The 38-year-old's record at the Emirates speaks for itself. In the 35 games he has managed at Arsenal, Arteta has overseen 22 wins, seven losses, and six draws, all of which have come with a squad that is in need of a revamp. With a proper pre-season, new signings, and renewed faith in the manager, Arsenal could be better placed this year. At just 38, he has a long career ahead, and could perhaps return to the Etihad one day in the future.