Mauricio Pochettino to Barcelona: Ex-Tottenham boss favourite to replace Setien as head coach

Ben Hayward
·2-min read
AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Quique Setien as Barcelona coach this summer.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has called an emergency board meeting for Monday to discuss urgent changes after the club's humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Friday night.

Bartomeu said after the Bayern defeat that 'decisions will be made' in the coming days and Standard Sport understands Setien's exit is imminent after the club's first trophy-less season since 2007-08.

Pochettino has claimed in the past that he could not coach Barca because of his links to their city rivals Espanyol, and even once said he would rather work on his farm in Argentina than train the Blaugrana.

However, the former Spurs boss is a friend of Ramon Planes, who works as an assistant to sporting director Eric Abidal at Barca, and also gets on well with Bartomeu.

In a recent interview with El Pais, his stance on Barca also seemed to soften. "I did not want to disrespect Barcelona," he said. "You can say things differently.

"Espanyol made a name for me, but I'm not arrogant and I didn't like making a statement like that. Maybe now I wouldn't because in life you never know what will happen."

Barca's players are thought to be keen to work with club legend Xavi, but the former midfielder has signed a new deal with Al-Sadd and has hinted that he would be unwilling to take over with the club in its current condition.

Xavi is the preferred choice of presidential candidate Victor Font and could also be appointed if former club chief Joan Laporta wins next year's elections.

Bartomeu and his board will also discuss the possibility of bringing forward the elections in Monday's meeting, with January and March two possible dates.

Whether the vote takes place during the season or next summer, the next coach will be aware that he will be likely to be replaced straight after a new president is elected and with very little in the way of funds available for strengthening after Covid-19 and the squad in need of major changes, the position is much less attractive than it would be usually.

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