Barcelona make Mauricio Pochettino No 1 target to replace Ernesto Valverde after Xavi snub

Barcelona have put Mauricio Pochettino top of their managerial wanted list.


Posted Monday, January 13, 2020 by Express.co.uk

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu wants Mauricio Pochettino to replace Ernesto Valverde in the Nou Camp hotseat after club legend Xavi turned down the chance to return to his old stomping ground. Pochettino has been out of work since November, when he was sacked by Tottenham and replaced by Jose Mourinho just 12 hours later.

Valverde is teetering on the brink at Barcelona and his problems were compounded on Thursday night as they were dumped out of the Spanish Super Cup by Atletico Madrid.

Xavi - who wrote his name into Barcelona folklore during a 17-year stint in the first-team picture - has since been sounded out about moving back to Spain.

However, the Al Sadd boss has said no to Bartomeu and co., which has prompted them to look to former Tottenham manager Pochettino.

RAC1 report Pochettino has emerged as the No 1 candidate to take the reins at the Nou Camp should Valverde be given his marching orders.

Barcelona make Mauricio Pochettino No 1 target to replace Ernesto Valverde after Xavi snub
Barcelona want Mauricio Pochettino to replace Ernesto Valverde after being snubbed by Xavi

Pochettino is said to have been handpicked by Barcelona president Bartomeu, who has since gained the approval of other board members.

Pochettino is believed to be the ideal candidate to ‘lead and shake’ up the Barcelona squad, who are currently level pegging with rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Valverde, despite winning two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup since taking charge of Barcelona in 2017, has been accused of not getting enough out of his talent-rich playing roster.

Top of Barcelona’s trophies hit list is the Champions League, which they last scooped under Luis Enrique back in 2015.

Pochettino, who turned Tottenham into top-four regulars and led them to last year’s Champions League final, will be entrusted with getting more from the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele if he becomes Barcelona boss.

He has, though, previously stated he would not coach the Catalan giants due to his allegiance to their local rivals Espanyol, where he spent two stints as a player and then three years as manager.

During his time as Tottenham manager, Pochettino said: "I would never train Barcelona or Arsenal because I am tied to Tottenham. I grew up at Newell's and I would never train Rosario Central.

"This is my decision. I would prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than to go and work in certain places."

Express Sport understands Pochettino has been considered as a potential replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United, with Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid among his admirers.



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