At the end of last season, Pep Guardiola is believed to have suggested his possible successor after treble-winners Manchester City lifted another Premier League title.
The 52-year-old Spaniard, who was named City manager ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at the Etihad, lifting five league titles and a Champions League.
It will be an almost impossible task to follow in the footsteps of Guardiola; a man that has transformed English football.
But the man himself believes Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi has all the ingredients to take over at the Citizens when he does decide to leave.
In fact, back in May, after the Seagulls played out a 1-1 draw against City, the former Barca boss made his intentions clear as he walked down the Amex Stadium tunnel.
According to a report from The Telegraph, Guardiola approached three Brighton players, who were celebrating securing European football for the first time in their history.
Here, he nodded towards De Zerbi and said, “That’s the next Man City manager.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time Guardiola has praised his Premier League counterpart. Ahead of their clash on May 24, Pep labelled De Zerbi ‘one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years’.
When asked if he was impressed by the Brighton manager’s performance this season in his pre-match press conference, Guardiola delivered a compliment for the ages.
“Pay attention to what I’m about to say because I’m convinced in what I’m saying that [Roberto De Zerbi] is one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years,” he said. “There is no team that plays the way they play, it’s unique.”
Guardiola added: “Congratulations to Brighton for this incredible achievement of getting into Europe. I had the feeling that when he arrived I had an idea the impact he would have on the Premier League would be great but I couldn’t expect him to do it in such a short time.
“They create on average 20-25 chances per game. They monopolise the ball in a way that hasn’t been seen for a long time. Everybody is involved – the goalkeeper is like a holding midfielder.”
On learning from Roberto De Zerbi’s style of play, Guardiola continued: “Brighton is a master of passing the ball to a man who is free, but also knowing when to pass the ball.
“They know how to move at the right time. They have the right tempo to pass to the man free. How aggressive they are with the ball they continued from Graham Potter because I think he installed something really good.”
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