Barcelona are working hard to convince Xavi to return
to the club and replace Ronald Koeman as head
coach, 90min has been told.
Joan Laporta and the club’s board of directors have
put together a list of replacements who could come
in and replace the Dutchman, having already given
Koeman a dreaded vote of confidence earlier this
Koeman has been unable to steady the ship since
then, with draws against Granada and Cadiz followed
by another Champions League humbling at Benfica.
90min revealed earlier this month that the board have
decided to move on from Koeman, and they have
been working hard in the background to bring in his
Catalonian sources have now confirmed that a
number of people connected to Barça are attempting
to convince Xavi to ‘come home’. The legendary
Spaniard, who patrolled the club’s midfield for the
best part of two decades, is currently in Qatar with
Al-Sadd, whom he finished his playing career with
in 2019 before taking over as manager.
He committed his future to the club earlier this
summer, signing a two-year contract extension,
despite being previously linked with the Barça job.
Indeed, before Laporta was re-elected as president,
Xavi was linked closely to one of his rivals, Victor
As a result, Laporta and Xavi are not thought to be
on the best of terms. Those around the club hope
that it won’t be an issue, but it is seemingly playing
a part in his reluctance to return at this stage.
Xavi is also believed to be worried about the work
needed at Barcelona to turn things around and
some close to the club have warned him not to
make the move. Former team-mate Luis Suarez is
among those to have warned him against returning, telling Spanish publication Sport in an interview that
would be a mistake.
“At Barça there is a war that hurts the players,”
Suarez remarked. “I personally recommend Xavi to
wait. This is not the ideal time to get to the club.
He’s smart he has to wait a moment.”
While Xavi is the man that Barça want, the club are
working on other options – and they are not short of
ideas. However, persuading someone to take over
from Koeman is proving problematic.
Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers, Imanol Alguacil,
Andrea Pirlo and Erik ten Hag are among those who
have been discussed within the corridors of power,
but Laporta is also working hard on interim options.
Special advisor Jordi Cruyff has already downplayed
his interest, but one name emerging as a contender
is Giovanni van Bronckhorst. A former Barcelona
midfielder, the Dutchman has previously enjoyed a
good spell in charge of Feyenoord before a stint in
China with Guangzhou R&F. He was even linked with
the Netherlands national team job before Louis van
Gaal returned to the post.
Two other names rumoured to be in the mix – Phillip
Cocu and current Barcelona B coach Sergi Barjuan
– are unlikely to be offered the role at this stage.