Manchester City appear to be planning for life after Pep Guardiola.
According to Simon Mullock of the Daily Mirror, Dutch legend Giovanni van Bronckhorst has a contract to be at Man City and has been handed an “access all areas” pass to watch how Guardiola operates.
It is believed the former Feyenoord coach (who led them to the Dutch Eredivisie title on a shoestring budget in 2017) is being eased into the system at City so he can seamlessly replace Guardiola, whenever that day arrives.
Per the report, van Bronckhorst will spend the next year learning about different roles within the club, from the business side to the scouting and loan systems as well as the academy. Van Bronckhorst is currently without a club after taking Feyenoord as far as he could, so this all makes sense.
City’s hierarchy are keen to have an easy appointment to make when Guardiola decides to call time on their project, and van Bronckhorst is close friends with City’s Football Administration Officer Brian Marwood and shares the same philosophy as the Spanish coach, as they both admire and replicate the principles of Johann Cruyff.
The former Dutch international played at Barcelona when Guardiola’s career was coming to an end and he knows current City chief executive Feran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain very well.
Having a clear plan in place to replace Guardiola would make a lot of sense. Unlike at Man United, City are getting ahead of the game about replacing a legendary coach and the way van Bronckhort’s team at Feyenoord played would suggest he’d be a very good fit for City.
Patrick Vieria was lined up in a similar role to this within the City Football Group but eventually lost patience and has since coached New York City FC and then Nice as he looks to take his own path in management.
Will van Bronckhorst wait for two years to replace Guardiola? Guardiola’s current assistant coach Mikel Arteta may be a little miffed if someone jumps ahead of him, but he has no experience as a head coach and van Bronckhorst does.
Guardiola has less than two years left on his current contract and if he leaves in the summer of 2021 that would bring an end to a five-year cycle in charge at the Etihad Stadium.
The wheels are in motion to make Guardiola’s departure as painless as possible.