But now with City hearing of their two-year Champions League ban and having been fined £25million after ‘serious breaches’ of Financial Fair Play regulations, their future appears somewhat in the mist.
Brendan Rodgers is in the frame for the Manchester City job if Pep Guardiola leaves
City are in danger of losing Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne if their European ban is upheld
It has led to plenty of concerns that star players, including the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, could leave but perhaps the biggest repercussion would be if Guardiola – the man who has guided City to two consecutive Premier League titles – was to jump ship.
Discussions have already evolved to whom could possibly take over at the Etihad if the unthinkable was to happen and one man in the frame is a certain Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers, alongside Mauricio Pochettino, are reportedly being lined up by the reigning Premier League champions – having made a huge impression on the City board, who admire his style of football.
And Saturday evening represents the perfect opportunity for Rodgers to put himself firmly in contention to eventually take over from Guardiola in the future.
Rodgers’ rise following his sacking from Liverpool back in 2015 has been remarkable and he has truly surpassed expectation.
The Northern Irishman was heavily linked with the Arsenal job before Unai Emery was named as Arsene Wenger’s successor in the summer of 2018 and then once again when the Spaniard was sacked last November.
Leicester have been one of the stories of the season thanks to Rodgers’ attacking philosophy
There has been no shortage of admirers for Rodgers, whose reputation grew again following his record-breaking time in Scotland at Celtic, with whom he led on an astonishing 69-game unbeaten domestic run.
He found a complete new lease of life in Glasgow, winning two Scottish Premiership titles, as many Scottish Cups and three League Cups.
It was a matter of time before he landed a job again in England and his time came to prove he had what it takes when Leicester came calling in February last year following the sacking of Claude Puel.
And since his appointment, Leicester have not looked back and against the odds, have become one of England’s most formidable teams in the space of 12 months.
A massive factor behind the Foxes’ success is his willingness to take risks, providing the chance for the club’s youngsters to thrive on the biggest stage of all.
The likes of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Ben Chilwell and Caglar Soyuncu have shone for Leicester this season, gaining more confidence as the weeks go by after showing they can go toe-to-toe with the Premier League’s best.
The Northern Irishman has placed immense trust in the likes of Harvey Barnes this campaign
They have all developed their games massively under Rodgers and at one stage this season, refused to shy away from a remarkable Premier League title charge, which is now over with Liverpool battering everyone in their way.
The Foxes have taken the scalps of Tottenham and Arsenal this campaign while utterly humiliating Southampton 9-0 away from home in the Premier League’s best performance of the season.
They have been in scintillating form for the majority of the season and deserve all the accolades that are coming their way – with Champions League football next term looking very likely.
Jamie Vardy has been in magnificent form throughout, leading the Premier League scoring charts with 17 goals thanks to Maddison and the silky Youri Tielemans feeding balls time and time again into the path of the former England international.
But it’s not just in the middle of the park where they are causing havoc. Barnes and Ayoze Perez are posing a real danger on the wings while Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira have been given the license by Rodgers to roam the flanks and overlap to add another attacking threat.
Rodgers will be desperate to get the better of Guardiola at King Power Stadium on Saturday
Defensively they are also extremely stubborn, with Soyuncu and Jonny Evans providing a brilliant shield in front of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
They hold the third best defensive record in the English top flight, behind only Liverpool and Sheffield United – conceding just 26 times in as many matches.
Rodgers has overseen some turnaround at the King Power Stadium. When he took over, they looked shot of confidence and were lacking any real identity but just one year on, the Foxes are flying high with belief beyond their years thanks to one man only.
And on Saturday, Rodgers and his Leicester players will be confident of adding another casualty to their list in Guardiola’s City, still ruing from their European ban.
City’s top brass will be watching extremely closely as the action unfolds at the King Power Stadium and they will have a firm eye on Rodgers to see whether he can potentially lead the club through a new era at the Etihad.
City, who are appealing against UEFA’s judgment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, run the risk of losing their biggest names if their ban is upheld, and what many thought would be a sustained period of dominance, could soon be coming to an end.
Rodgers would look to make Phil Foden an instrumental star at the Etihad if he became boss
While he has remained adamant he will stay at the club if the Champions League ban goes ahead, Guardiola might just secretly be keeping his eye out for another opportunity elsewhere, which may well pave the way for Rodgers to take the hotseat.
And City certainly shouldn’t be afraid to consider the 47-year-old. His past exploits highlight that he could usher in a bold revolution in Manchester.
A club that has been so used to instant success and big-money names donning the shirt in recent years might just start to evolve if Rodgers was at the helm. There has been an internal pressure on Guardiola to win the biggest honours, meaning the club’s academy set-up has been in truth, almost snubbed during his reign.
But if City do become financially restricted due to their UEFA punishment, then they could be set to rely on their next generation of talent and Rodgers would not shy away from handing them huge responsibility.
Maybe just maybe Phil Foden could actually soon become a main man for City, while the likes of Tommy Doyle, Jayden Braaf, James McAtee and Cole Palmer could become stars to watch out for in the near future.