Barcelona could swoop to bring legendary former midfielder Xavi Hernandez back to the club ahead s coach after it emerged he is set to leave Qatari club Al Sadd.
Reports in the Middle East, as per Football Espana, say the 41-year-old will depart when the season ends. He has long been linked with the job at Camp Nou, despite Ronald Koeman currently hunting a La Liga title.
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Having already rejected the chance to take over at the Blaugrana after Ernesto Valverde in 2017, it may be difficult for Xavi to resist the job a second time, given that he has made no secret of his desire to take it in the future.
Koeman is not likely to stay in the post much longer, given his poor performance in the Champions League – Barcelona were knocked out at the last 16 stage by PSG – and the fact he wasn’t hired by current president Joan Laporta.
Laporta has not yet commented on any potential changes he could make at the club, but big things are expected after a difficult few years which have seen Barcelona cease to be a major European force.
Lionel Messi’s future is still up in the air with his contract expiring this summer, but the arrival of his former team-mate could appease the Argentine and persuade him to stay.
Could Xavi be drafted in at Camp Nou?
It makes a lot of sense. Laporta has previous for hiring academy graduates at the club, having done so with Pep Guardiola back in 2008 during his first term as president.
Xavi is loved at Barcelona, having been an ever-present for one of the club’s most successful eras under Guardiola and Frank Rijkaard before him. He was given his debut in 1998.
But he has long courted the position in the dugout and has been compared to Guardiola in the way he studies the game. He understands the club’s principles and would without doubt prove a popular choice with the fans and members.
Xavi previously told the official FIFA website:
“We’ll see what happens in the future. Everyone sees me as a Barcelona coach, and I really respect Barcelona and Koeman, the current head coach.
“I don’t want to hide the truth – of course I would like to be Barcelona’s head coach. I’ve said it many times.
“But I will always respect the presiding coach and the club. I wish them the best of course. I’ve been a Barcelona fan as long as I can remember.”