Barcelona are reportedly looking to replace outgoing manager Xavi with Julian Nagelsmann, who rejected Chelsea.
The 36-year-old former Bayern Munich boss is currently in charge of Germany but is unlikely to remain so after the European Championship this summer. One of the best young managers in the game currently, Nagelsmann is set to be available and could move to the Camp Nou, as per Barca Universal.
Nagelsmann, who was unceremoniously ousted from the Bayern job in March last year, was close to joining the Blues last summer before a move fell through. About his plans beyond the summer, the former RB Leipzig said recently:
“I haven’t thought about it yet. Since my contract ends after the Euros, I would say: as it stands, no. I’ve said it since the beginning of my tenure – the Euros is currently the focus. Then we’ll see if I’m still the coach.”
Depending on how hosts Germany fare in the quadrennial competition, Nagelsmann might be out of job soon. As per SPORT (via Barca Universal), Barca are looking to replace Xavi – who is leaving at the end of the season – with the German.
However, Nagelsmann is not the only contender for the Camp Nou job, with Barcelona also reportedly targeting Hansi Flick, Sergio Conceicao, Luis Enrique, Roberto de Zerbi and Mikel Arteta. Meanwhile, the German himself is also being scouted by Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur.
What’s next for Chelsea and Barcelona?
Chelsea are in the midst of an underwhelming season. After an expensive overhaul in the summer, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been plagued by injuries to key players and inconsistency.
Following successive heavy defeats in the Premier League, the Blues are 11th in the standings, a whopping 15 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa (48) in the fourth and final UEFA Champions League spot.
However, following a 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round replay win at Villa in midweek, Chelsea head to Crystal Palace on Monday (February 12) in the league. Later this month, they play Liverpool in the EFL Cup final.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have fared better, but recent results haven’t been convincing. After losing 4-1 to Real Madrid in the Supercopa Espana final last month, a 4-2 extra time defeat at Athletic Club in the quarterfinals knocked them out of the Copa del Rey.
A 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal in the league led to Xavi proclaiming that he’s leaving at the end of the season. However, following successive league wins, Barcelona next take on Granada at home on Monday, hoping to close the eight-point gap on leaders Real Madrid.