The media are widely reporting that Ernesto Valverdo is set to be relieved of his duties imminently. We take a look at the five leading candidates to become the next Barcelona manager.
The former Tottenham boss is available having been replaced by Jose Mourinho at Spurs in November. Many regard him as favourite to become the next Barcelona manager.
He would tick a number of boxes required to become a hit at the Nou Camp. His ability to promote and develop youth would be a definite win. As might his attractive, attacking ethos.
The main negative against him is that he has never won a trophy as a manager. He did finish second in the Premier League and Champions League with Spurs but Barcelona will demand success, not a nearly man. You could also argue that his links to Barcelona’s city rivals Espanyol might be frowned upon by the fans.
However, Poch is regarded as one of the finest managers in the world despite the manner in which his Tottenham spell ended. Don’t be surprised if he is unveiled as the next Barcelona manager imminently.
Teams managed: Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham
Managerial statistics: P514, W235, D118, L161
An inexperienced former midfielder taking over at Barcelona and doing well? It wouldn’t be the first time.
The difference between Pep Guardiola and Xavi though is that whilst Pep Guardiola was undeniably one of the finest midfielders of his generation, Xavi is one of the finest in history. Although he didn’t quite make our list of the best players who didn’t win a Ballon d’Or.
Expectations would be high for the Spaniard. Especially as he won an outrageous eight La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, three Copa del Reys, two European Championship and one World Cup during a 17 year stint in Catalonia.
He has limited managerial experience, with just 23 games in charge of Qatar side Al Sadd. Not ideal for someone hoping to be the next Barcelona manager. However, he has won 13 of those games.
Xavi knows better than most the what is expected of a Barcelona manager. He would be a hugely popular choice with the fans. However, would he risk tarnishing his legacy before he’s gained more experience?
Teams managed: Al Sadd
Managerial statistics: P23, W13, D1, L9
A more experienced choice. 61-year-old Quique Setién has been linked with becoming the next Barcelona manager in recent days.
Despite managing seven teams over a 19-year managerial career, he would be something of a wildcard having never managed a truly elite side.
The closest he came was in his most recent role at Real Betis where he enjoyed some success. He led the club to a sixth placed finish and qualified for the Europa League.
Betis managed to finish top of a Europa League group featuring Olympiacos and AC Milan. However, they ultimately fell to Rennes in the last 32 and Setién left a few months later.
His sides are known for playing good football, which is a plus. However, there is a definite question mark over his experience of high profile players. Has he got a case to become the next Barcelona manager?
Teams managed: Racing Santander, Poli Ejido, Equatorial Guinea, Logrones, Lugo, Las Palmas, Betis
Managerial statistics: P500, W187, D143, L170
Not currently considered a frontrunner for the proposition but definitely an interesting choice. A serial winner, he’s also the first manager on this list to have won a trophy.
Allegri would become the first Italian to manage Barcelona since Sandro Puppo in 1955. The reason for that may be that traditional differences in footballing philosophy between Italy and Barcelona.
The Italian has many of the qualities required to become the next Barcelona manager though. In his five year spell in charge of Juventus, he managed several of the world’s biggest players. That experience is a big plus.
Additionally he was tremendously successful. Allegri won Serie A five times in a row, the Coppa Italia four times consecutively and finished as runner up in the Champions League twice. With Barcelona desperate to recapture their former dominance and reputation as the team to fear, this success will be appealing.
As will the fact that he is currently out of work. This eliminates the need to pay compensation for a high profile manager. One to watch.
Teams managed: Aglianese, SPAL, Grosseto, Sassuolo, Cagliari, AC Milan, Juventus
Trophies: Serie A (x6), Coppa Italia (x4), Supercoppa Italia (x3), Serie C1 (x1)
Managerial statistics: P672, W362, D156, L154
It couldn’t happen, could it? A return for the man who turned Barcelona into the most feared side on the planet, possibly of all time, would be sensational. However, if Guardiola is to become the next Barcelona manager, it wouldn’t be a simple process.
This is mainly owing to the not-so-tiny issue that he is currently Manchester City manager. Even if some are asking whether it might be time for him to move on.
It seems unlikely that Guardiola would leave the Etihad before the end of the season at the earliest. This would inevitably mean Barcelona appointing an interim coach until that point. However, there is no question that the fans would love him back. As might Lionel Messi, who I am legally obliged to refer to as ‘mercurial’.
The Argentinian enjoyed the best spell of his career under Barcelona and, despite now being in his 30s, has just regained the Ballon d’Or so clearly isn’t a busted flush yet.
It’s a big ask considering what would need to be done but, if the desire is there from the club and the manager, stranger things have happened. And why wouldn’t there be a desire? Despite managing just 208 career games, Guardiola has accrued an incredible record and silverware collection.
Teams managed: Barcelona B, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City
Trophies: La Liga (x3), Bundesliga (x3), Premier League (x2), Champions League (x2), Copa Del Rey (x2), Supercopa de Espana (x3), DFB-Pokal (x2), FA Cup (x1), EFL Cup (x2), Community Shield (x2), UEFA Super Cup (x3), FIFA Club World Cup (x3)
Managerial statistics: P208, W151, D29, L28