Manchester City have been constantly linked with two managers should Pep Guardiola leave the club: Mauricio Pochettino and Julian Nagelsmann.
Pep Guardiola’s departure from Manchester City following the expiry of his contract at the end of the season is far from a certainty. He has reiterated his desire to stay at the club, and an extension could be on the cards soon. Should City continue to struggle, however, pressure will mount, and the two names that have been heavily linked to a potential vacancy are former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann.
Pochettino built a Spurs project that took the club to new heights, reaching the Champions League final despite being allowed to spend next to nothing in the transfer market. He has been the top available coach since he was sacked at Tottenham around this time last year, and has been linked to Juventus, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. However, nothing has come to fruition, and he could see City as his perfect opportunity: a project where he will be allowed to spend what is necessary to take it to the next level.
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Nagelsmann is world football’s hottest coaching prospect. At just 33 years of age, he plays a swashbuckling, hyper-aggressive pressing style of football that has delivered great success for Leipzig. After reaching last season’s Champions League semi-finals, he has been heavily linked with the City job due to his inspiration from Guardiola and could be seen as a natural successor. He has the potential to become one of the best managers in the world, but has not yet proven it at a top club with expectations of regular silverware.
There is no perfect choice. Pochettino brings experience of success in the Premier League, but Nagelsmann has a higher ceiling. Personally, I believe Pochettino would be the slightly better choice should Guardiola depart, as I believe that if he can repeat what he did at Spurs with the resources of City, they could absolutely win the Champions League. Nagelsmann’s style is also very high-risk defensively, which could be exposed with the pace and skill of Premier League attackers, as seen with Leipzig’s shocking 5-0 defeat to Manchester United yesterday. Pochettino is more experienced, more pragmatic, and has done it before in this league, so he would be my pick, but either would be a solid choice should Guardiola choose to leave.