RONALD Koeman's former teammate Pep Guardiola will succeed Manuel Pellegrini as manager next season, Manchester City have announced.

City's surprise statement ends considerable speculation linking them with outgoing Bayern Munich boss Guardiola and over Pellegrini's future.

Guardiola will take over from the start of the 2016-17 season having agreed a three-year contract with the club.

Pellegrini will take his side to St Mary's to face Saints as one of his final three games in charge of the Etihad Stadium outfit.

Guardiola and Saints boss Koeman are friends, having played together at Barcelona.

Koeman revealed that he'd spoken to Guardiola about the Premier League

Last month, the Saints boss said: "I know him (Guardiola) very well. He’s a good friend.

"Yes, I have contact to him, I spoke Premier League with him and we shall see where he will be managing next season."

The statement from Manchester City reads: "Manchester City can confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalised contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC head coach for the 2016/17 EPL season onwards.

"The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012.

"Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation.

"Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club."