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The former Blues defender would not be surprised to see a Catalan coach sign a new contract, but feels he may leave when his current deal expires

Pep Guardiola looks likely to leave Manchester City in 2021 and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino would be a good option to fill the Catalan’s shoes if he is still available next summer, says Joleon Lescott.

There is currently no vacancy at the Etihad Stadium, however, Guardiola has entered the final year of his contract and is yet to open himself up to talks regarding an extension.

Given his history when it comes to spending short but successful spells in any given job, plenty have suggested that the 49-year-old is taking in a long goodbye.

Lescott cannot see a proven winner being sacked by City, despite surprising struggles for consistency at home and abroad of late, but admits that long-term change could be on the cards in Manchester.

The former Blues defender told Stadium Astro: “There are a number of factors that are going to go into that.

“I’ll be surprised if he’s not in charge of Manchester City at the end of the season and it’ll be a Man City decision. If Pep decides to walk away then that’s one thing, but I’d be totally surprised if the club decides to sack him in terms of what he has done in transforming the prolife of the club.”

Pressed further on whether he sees Guardiola still being at the helm in 2021-22, Lescott added: “I’m not so sure.

“I’m not saying he’s going to leave but the fact that he hasn’t got a contract for next season suggests that he’s not going to be there.

“Would it surprise me if he signed a new extension? No, totally not. I hope he does and I’m sure that the board and the owners do because what he’s done for the club, the standard he has set for City and the Premier League has raised the bar.”

If Guardiola were to walk away, then following in his footsteps will not be easy.

Lescott concedes as much, with style and substance now demanded at the Etihad, but he feels that Pochettino – who remains out of work after leaving Spurs in November 2019 – could be a good option to step in.

He said: “We are talking hypothetically so it’s hard to say who is going to be in and out of a job next season.

“If he’s available, yeah, he’s a top manager and proven in terms of style of play.

“But when Pep does leave, whether it’s next season or in three or four years’ time, winning isn’t going to be enough because they are used to that. It is going to be a style as well.

“Whoever the next manager is, it’s going to be difficult. We saw that when David Moyes went to Manchester United.”

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September 29, 2020
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