Barcelona have drawn up a star-studded list of candidates to succeed coach Xavi Hernandez, with Mikel Arteta, Xabi Alonso and Roberto De Zerbi among the contenders.
Xavi announced on January 27 that he will leave the club at the end of the season, after taking over in November 2021.
Attention has quickly focused on his replacement with Sports world mentioning several names in the box.
Arsenal manager Arteta, 41, excelled in Barcelona’s academy and his attacking style would be attractive to the Camp Nou club.
However, as Mundo says, Arteta has a contract with Arsenal until 2025, is enjoying a lot of success there and last month described the links with Barca as “totally fake news”.
Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona has prepared a shortlist of candidates to replace Xavi as coach in the summer
Xavi Hernández announced last month that he will leave Barcelona in the summer
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta acted quickly to end speculation linking him with the job.
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Responding to the reports, Arteta said: “I don’t know where it comes from and it’s totally false.” I’m really upset about that. I could not believe it. It has no source.
“It has nothing to do with it and I think we have to be very cautious when talking about personal things.”
A possible return of Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique, 53, is announced after having coached the club between 2014 and 2017.
This successful period included Barcelona’s 2015 Champions League success, part of a treble, and he also favors Barça’s classic style of play.
But Mundo qualifies this by pointing out that he also has a contract at his current club until next year and whether Barcelona’s difficult financial situation could be unpleasant.
Brighton manager De Zerbi is said to have impressed in the Premier League but has no experience of managing a big club with elite players.
They say De Zerbi’s passing style would be well received, as would the endorsements former Barca favorite Pep Guardiola has given him in the past.
Another interesting name mentioned is that of Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso, favorite to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
The Spaniard has excelled in Germany, where Leverkusen surprise Bundesliga title contenders as they battle Bayern Munich at the top.
Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi has won admirers for his style, but he has not managed a big club.
PSG coach Luis Enrique (left) has been mentioned for a return to Barcelona, while Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso (right) is the favorite for the Liverpool job.
Mundo is impressed by his “intense, dynamic and vertical game”, but admits his ties to Real Madrid, where he spent five years, and Liverpool’s interest would ruin Barça.
The least favored candidates include Hansi Flick, out of a job since becoming the first Germany national team coach to be fired in September last year.
Barcelona would focus more on his impressive trophy-collecting exploits with Bayern than his time with the national team, with president Joan Laporta “drawn to the German school of coaches.”
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is named another candidate following the Spaniard’s impressive work to place his team in the top four of the Premier League.
Emery was, of course, PSG’s coach when they blew a 4-0 first-leg lead to lose 6-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 in 2017.
Hansi Flick has been named by Mundo Deportivo as a candidate for the Barcelona position
Aston Villa’s Unai Emery is mentioned, but it may be difficult to extract him after the success there.
Outgoing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described as a ‘special case’ by Mundo Deportivo
The fact that he has enjoyed Europa League success works in his favor but, as Mundo acknowledges, there is a good relationship with sporting director Monchi that makes his departure from Villa Park difficult.
Interestingly, they name Klopp as a “special case.” It is clear that the German will leave Liverpool at the end of the season, but also that he will probably take a year off after admitting that he had run out of energy.
The report notes that Laporta admires Klopp for the competitive nature and intensity of his teams.
Other less likely candidate names include Porto’s Sergio Conceicao, Real Sociedad’s Imanol Alguacil and Girona’s high-flying Michel.
There is the caveat that Deco, Barcelona’s sporting director, has insisted that no contact has yet been established with any coach.
The reason for this is that Barcelona does not yet know the salary or playing budget it can offer Xavi’s successor within the limitations of Financial Fair Play.