Following Xavi’s decision to leave Barcelona at the end of the season, several high-profile names have been linked with the managerial position at Camp Nou, including recently sacked Jose Mourinho. Barcelona’s sporting director and a former protege of Mourinho, Deco, has finally come out to address these rumors, stating that the two share a great relationship.
Barcelona have experienced an underwhelming 2023-24 season, bowing out of the Copa Del Rey and the Spanish Supercup in a humiliating manner. With the Catalan giants also suffering in La Liga, Xavi thought it apt to step down from his position at the end of the season to induce a positive change at his boyhood club.
As soon as his shock decision was announced, several managers saw their names getting linked with the Barcelona job. Having recently lost his job at Roma, 61-year-old Jose Mourinho has emerged as one of the most eligible candidates to guide the Blaugrana back to their glory days.
Commenting on these rumors, Barcelona’s sporting director Deco told Esport3:
“He is a great friend of mine but I haven’t talked with him in a long time.”
The former Portugal international also clarified the traits that the club are looking for in their next manager, stating:
“We’re looking for a manager who can adapt to the club’s situation and that can keep developing the young players we have.”
Barcelona also share a great relationship with Jose Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, who helped the club secure the loan signings of Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix last year.
Several Premier League managers have also been linked with the Barcelona job alongside Jose Mourinho
The most lucrative managerial candidate for the reigning Spanish champions has come out to be Jurgen Klopp, following his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season. Despite his announcement to take a break from football for a year, Klopp’s name continues to be linked with Barcelona.
Another name to pop out of the rumor mill is that of Mikel Arteta. A report by SPORT even claimed that Arteta was contemplating leaving his position at Arsenal in the summer to apply for the managerial role at Barcelona. However, the former La Masia graduate has since come out to refute the rumor, labeling it “upsetting” and “totally fake news” (via Metro).
The third Premier League manager to get linked with a move to Catalonia is Brighton & Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi. According to Fichajes, current Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has himself recommended his former club to replace Xavi with the Italian tactician.
However, the Blaugrana could face competition for De Zerbi’s signature should they choose to make a move, with Liverpool also monitoring his situation.