Brighton and Hove Albion manager Roberto de Zerbi is at the top of Manchester City’s list of candidates to replace Pep Guardiola, should he depart in 2025.

That’s according to Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Davide Chinellato, who has been speaking to TV Play in Italy regarding the Italian coach.

Guardiola’s contract at Manchester City expires in two years and as yet there have not been discussions about a possible extension to his time at the Etihad.

His spell at Manchester City is his longest as a coach so far, with him staying with Barcelona for four years and Bayern Munich for three years previously.

If he sees out his current deal at the club it will take him to nine years in charge, a long spell for the Catalan, particularly in the modern game.

Should he depart, replacing him will be no easy feat, with it likely his and Manchester City’s trophy haul will be bigger again by that point in time.

It is also a case of finding a manager who can follow in his footsteps tactically too, and the closest fit, at this moment in time at least, would be Brighton’s Roberto de Zerbi.

He is currently the rising manager in the game thanks to his work with Brighton, where he took charge last season and has guided them to their best Premier League finish and European football.

This has all been done on the back of thrilling, attacking football that is winning plaudits and fans across Europe, including in the boardroom at the Etihad according to Chinellato.

“Guardiola’s contract expires at the end of next season, we are not talking about succession but about ideas and understanding what he wants to do for the future,” he said.

“The possible managers from Manchester City are Arteta, it would be an obvious choice except that now he is doing very well with Arsenal and has become a sort of rival.

“The name of De Zerbi is gaining more and more popularity and is considered the new Guardiola in terms of playing style, approach and innovative football. He achieved results by taking Brighton to the best position in their history and going to Europe.

“Among the emerging managers of the Premier League he is at the top of the list and if he confirms himself this year his next step could be in a big club, perhaps even on the City bench.”