Man City already have ‘No1 contender’ to replace Guardiola under their noses

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira should be the "number one contender" for the Manchester City job when Pep Guardiola eventually decides to leave, according to Nigel de Jong.

The former Holland international, who made over 130 appearances for the Citizens, insists Vieira would be a smart choice given the relationship he already has with the club.

Vieira is best remembered for his nine-year stint at Arsenal, but the Frenchman spent the final two years of his career at the Etihad Stadium and developed a rapport with hierarchy there.

Following in the footsteps of someone as successful as Guardiola would be an unenviable task in many ways, but de Jong says he has no doubt that Vieira would be up to the task, especially after making a bright start to life at Selhurst Park.

"Patrick Vieira is always going to be a name that's linked with the City job because of the relationship he has with the club," de Jong said speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Arsenal v Man City.

"He's a leading figure; he led by example as a player and it looks like he does the same as a coach. The transition from player to coach is so different, but Patrick has so far enjoyed great success with Crystal Palace.

"He's a number one contender for the Manchester City job for sure."

When will Pep Guardiola leave Manchester City? Let us know what you think in the comments section below…

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In spite of his admiration for Vieira, de Jong insists that as a City fan he doesn't want to see Guardiola leave anytime soon.

"I'd love to see him in charge for another 5-10 years. I want him to have a similar spell to what Sir Alex Ferguson had at Manchester United, to really amplify his DNA into the club," he said.

Guardiola has won three Premier League titles, four League Cups and the FA Cup during his five-and-a-half year spell at the club – with the Champions League the only major trophy to have evaded him so far.

Recent wobbles from title rivals Liverpool and Chelsea have left City six points clear at the top of the table – at the time of writing.

Should they retain their crown, Guardiola would become statistically the second most successful manager in Premier League history – ahead of the likes of Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger.

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