Pep Guardiola responds to claims he earmarked Roberto De Zerbi as Manchester City’s next manager

The Spaniard is believed to be a massive fan of Roberto De Zerbi.

Pep Guardiola responds to claims he earmarked Roberto De Zerbi as Manchester City’s next manager
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola
The Spaniard is believed to be a massive fan of the Italian (Picture: Getty)

Pep Guardiola has distanced himself from reports he told Brighton’s players that Roberto De Zerbi would be the next manager of Manchester City.

The Italian has done a very impressive job since taking over from Graham Potter a little over a year ago, guiding the attack-minded, free-flowing Seagulls into Europe for the first time in the club’s history.

De Zerbi takes his Brighton side to the Etihad on Saturday afternoon, with recent reports suggesting he could be one of the names in the frame to replace Guardiola in the future – and may even have the Spaniard’s seal of approval.

According to The Telegraph, when City played at the Amex Stadium in May, Guardiola was speaking with several Brighton players in the tunnel when he nodded in the direction of De Zerbi and said, ‘That’s the next Man City manager’.

However, Guardiola says he has no recollection of making that claim despite being a massive fan of the Brighton boss.

Asked about the reports, the City manager replied: ‘I don’t remember that. Maybe I have bad memory but I’m sure Roberto can train in any team around the world. I don’t have any doubt.

Roberto De Zerbi and Pep Guardiola
Brighton have played scintillating football under De Zerbi (Picture: Getty)

‘I don’t remember saying that to the players. I remember saying before he arrived, one or two games in, about sustaining the manager, but I don’t remember saying that honestly.

‘It’s none of my business. If the chairman asks my opinion I will give my opinion but it’s none of my business.

‘I’m not the sporting director. It’s not my responsibility to say what’s going right or wrong.’

Despite impressing with Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk, few people in England would have heard of De Zerbi before his arrival at Brighton and Guardiola feels his impact shows that managers do not have to be a big name to have success.

‘It doesn’t mean you have to be at the top clubs to be manager of the top clubs. I was appointed Barcelona first-team coming from the fourth division with no experience at the top level,’ he continued.

‘You have the idea of the club, the sporting director follows the idea, they hire the manager for this idea, they hire players to follow the idea. When that happens it’s going well. Man City have done this, Liverpool with Jurgen [Klopp] for many years – winning titles with the same process and same ideas.’

MORE : Pep Guardiola identifies Roberto De Zerbi as the next Manchester City manager

MORE : Mikel Arteta reveals what Pep Guardiola told him after Arsenal beat Man City

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.