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Five Pep Guardiola proteges in charge of top clubs next season

Five Pep Guardiola proteges in charge of top clubs next season
Five Pep Guardiola proteges in charge of top clubs next season

The great managers tend to spawn disciples. For example, after Rinus Michels came Johan Cruyff, and from Cruyff the great Pep Guardiola, regarded currently as the finest mind in the game.

There’s an argument that Guardiola might just be the greatest coach of all time and his impact has certainly been felt far outside the clubs he has guided to success.

Next season, the 53-year-old will find himself being challenged in all competitions by a batch of coaches who have taken inspiration from his methods. A whole host of Guardiola’s ex-players and coaching staff now find themselves in a position to compete with their old mentor.

Here are five former Pep Guardiola proteges in charge of top clubs next season.

Mikel Arteta – Arsenal

From idol to rival. Mikel Arteta’s coaching career began on Guardiola’s backroom staff at Manchester City, where he spent three seasons working alongside and picking the brains of his compatriot.

Arsenal took a chance on their former captain and Arteta has since flourished in his first senior role, turning the Gunners into the closest competitors to Manchester City’s dominance of the Premier League. The North Londoners have been rewarded for their patience with Arteta who overcame early pressure to transform Arsenal.

Last season, the Gunners led the league for goals scored and boasted the division’s best defensive record to miss out on the title by just two points. Their 89 points won would have been enough to be champions in 20 of the previous 31 editions of the Premier League and the task next season is to take the next step and end a two-decade wait for the title.

Erik ten Hag – Manchester United

After beginning his career with a single-season spell at Go Ahead Eagles, Erik ten Hag took charge of Bayern Munich II, at a time when the German’s first team was under the management of Guardiola. The latter led Bayern to three consecutive Bundesliga titles as Ten Hag cut his coaching teeth with the second string, learning from the man in charge.

“It is too much to tell, it’s a lot, really too short to bring that in 30 seconds to tell it,” Ten Hag said in 2023 when asked what he learnt from Guardiola.

“The best bit? About proactive, be proactive, play football. Top football is about results but you want to do it in a certain way, be proactive, adventure, also entertain, top football is about winning and also entertaining the fans, top football you play for the fans.”

Ten Hag has won trophies in each of his first two seasons at Manchester United despite criticism of their league performance in 2023-24. The second, FA Cup success, was won after beating Guardiola’s Manchester City at Wembley.

Xabi Alonso – Bayer Leverkusen

Xabi Alonso is the hottest coaching property in the game right now after leading Bayer Leverkusen to a historic 2023-24 season. Leverkusen won the German title for the first time in their 120-year history and did so without losing a game, becoming the first Bundesliga team to achieve the feat.

The DFB-Pokal was added to complete a domestic double and Leverkusen will be elated that Alonso snubbed overtures from Bayern Munich and Liverpool to commit his future to the club.

Real Madrid appears a likely destination for the Spaniard if he can build upon an unforgettable first full season in management, with Alonso’s tutelage as a former player of Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and, most notably, Guardiola evident in the style of his side.

How Leverkusen do in next season’s Champions League will be a fascinating watch.

Enzo Maresca – Chelsea

Enzo Maresca is the latest former Guardiola sidekick to take the step up to an elite club. The 44-year-old had two separate spells working at the Etihad alongside the Spaniard, first with the club’s EDS (Elite Development Squad) before becoming a first-team assistant.

After taking the Leicester job last summer, Maresca led the relegated Foxes to the Championship title and an instant return to the Premier League. His performances in the second tier persuaded Chelsea to appoint the Italian as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor at Stamford Bridge.

The task for Maresca will be turning an expensive, if inexperienced, squad into a team capable of challenging for the game’s biggest prizes.

Vincent Kompany – Bayern Munich

Vincent Kompany became a Manchester City legend during an 11-year spell with the club, the final three seasons of which came under Guardiola.

The Belgian won two league titles and a domestic treble under the Spaniard’s guidance, no doubt picking up nuggets of gold as he plotted his own move into management. Kompany first impressed with an inexperienced side at Anderlecht before leading Burnley to promotion to the Premier League in style in 2022-23.

Though unable to keep the Clarets in the top division, the 38-year-old’s demeanour and drive have caught the eye of Bayern Munich who have appointed Kompany as head coach at the Allianz Arena. After a chaotic managerial search, the Bundesliga giants landed at the gamble of Kompany, who will swap the Championship for the Champions League next season.

Read – Five England players that could move clubs this summer

See more – A 26-man squad of players England snubbed for Euro 2024

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