The Football Association is reportedly preparing for Gareth Southgate to leave as England manager after Euro 2024 – and Pep Guardiola could replace him.
Southgate has done a fine job since his appointment in November 2016, guiding England to a World Cup semi-final in 2018, as well as the Euro 2020 final.
It was suggested he could walk after last year’s World Cup, however, he opted to stay on after England’s quarter-final defeat to France.
But the Daily Mail reports that Southgate may resign from his position after next summer’s finals in Germany, and Manchester City boss Guardiola is among those in contention to replace him.
The report adds that the FA are ‘open’ to exploring a move for Guardiola, who’s seen as a ‘dream’ appointment by some at English football’s governing body.
It’s understood FA technical director John McDermott met with colleagues to discuss potential successors to Southgate prior to Qatar with Eddie Howe and Graham Potter.
However, Howe was flying high with Newcastle, while Potter had only just been appointed as Chelsea boss.
The report also says that then-Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers as well as ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has since gone to Chelsea, were also considered, although Southgate staying was always the preferred choice.
Southgate’s contract is due to expire at the end of next year and the Mail says Howe, Potter, Rodgers and Pochettino are still viable options.
But the FA are also keen on ‘testing the water’ with Guardiola, who’s enjoyed huge success in charge of City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
Guardiola’s contract at the Etihad Stadium expires in 2025, which is a potential financial obstacle for the FA amid losses from the COVID pandemic.
Meanwhile, Guardiola’s support for Catalan independence could create a political barriers which stop him being offered the Spain job.
The Mail’s report also says that Southgate would’ve stood down after Qatar had he been offered an ‘attractive job.’
Southgate is preparing England for their upcoming clashes – a Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine on Saturday as well as a friendly against Scotland on September 12.
England are top of their qualifying group having amassed a maximum 12 points from their opening four matches.
Listen to full commentary of Ukraine vs England live on talkSPORT, kick-off 5pm.