Manchester City eye Liverpool favourite as Pep Guardiola successor

In a move likely to stir unease among Liverpool fans, Manchester City have reportedly identified their preferred candidate to succeed Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard, who has just guided City to their fourth consecutive Premier League title and sixth in seven years, has hinted at his potential departure when his contract expires at the end of the 2024/25 season.

Speaking to Sky Sports (via the BBC) at the end of the season, the Spaniard said: “The reality is I am closer to leaving than staying. 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.”

Despite ongoing scrutiny over the club’s 115 Financial Fair Play charges, Guardiola's status as one of the greatest managers in English football remains unchallenged, therefore leaving big boots to fill.

However, according to Football Transfers, City have already identified the man for the job.

Xabi Alonso, the 'unanimous choice' for Manchester City

If Guardiola steps down, it will cap a nine-year tenure, matching the length of Jurgen Klopp’s illustrious stint at Liverpool.

Liverpool’s eventual choice to replace Klopp, Feyenoord's Arne Slot, came after former player Xabi Alonso chose to commit his future to Bayer Leverkusen.

Xabi Alonso Bayer Leverkusen

Xabi Alonso Bayer Leverkusen

Now, Alonso, who has earned widespread acclaim for leading the Germans to their first Bundesliga title last season, is currently the only candidate that City are “seriously considering” to replace the Catalan, according to the aforementioned report.

The City hierarchy are reportedly unanimous in their belief that Alonso is the ideal candidate to continue Guardiola’s legacy.

This development is likely to alarm Liverpool supporters, given the high regard in which Alonso is held, especially for his instrumental role in their 2005 Champions League triumph.

Wirtz and Zubimendi to City?

Alonso’s appointment could, City hope, facilitate significant incomings, with Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi on their shortlist.

Wirtz, seen as the successor to Kevin De Bruyne, and Zubimendi, a potential midfield reinforcement, are both targets City believe Alonso’s presence could help secure.

That said, Real Madrid are clearly in the driving seat for the Liverpool-linked Wirtz, with reports suggesting an agreement is already in place.

Los Blancos could also be in for Alonso should, as expected, Carlo Ancelotti moves on at the end of next season.

In this equation, Liverpool fans will undoubtedly be hoping that their former hero does not end up at one of their fiercest rivals.

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