5 leading contenders to be Barcelona boss after Quique Setien’s sacking

Quique Setien has been dismissed by Barcelona after the club’s humiliating 8-2 Champions League quarter-final hammering by Bayern Munich.

Here, the PA news agency looks at those waiting in the wings to take the Nou Camp helm.

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman is favourite for the job
Ronald Koeman is favourite for the job

The Holland manager is favourite to take the hot seat at the Nou Camp. Koeman reportedly has a release clause that will allow him to leave his role in charge of his national side to take up the Barcelona job. The 57-year-old spent six years as a Barcelona player, and was also assistant manager under Louis Van Gaal, and has made no secret of his desire to manage the club. The former Southampton and Everton boss took over the Dutch side in 2018 and guided them to the Nations League final and Euro 2020 qualification, but the lure of Barcelona may not see him lead his nation to that delayed tournament.

Mauricio Pochettino

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Anfield
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Anfield

In football, “impossible” is never forever. Former Tottenham manager Pochettino claimed there could never be a chance he would manage Barcelona or Arsenal back in 2018. And yet, the Argentinian could easily wind up coaching at the Nou Camp. Only earlier this month he told Spanish newspaper El Pais “in life you never know what will happen”, insisting he could not answer the question of whether he would now be open to managing Barcelona. In football parlance, that is tantamount to a tacit acceptance that he would take the job in, if not a heartbeat, then something approaching such a brief pause for thought. His love of and long service for rivals Espanyol could end up giving way to his desire to be back in the hot seat of one of the world’s top clubs.

Xavi

Soccer – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – Manchester City v Barcelona – Etihad Stadium
Soccer – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – Manchester City v Barcelona – Etihad Stadium

The heavily decorated former Spain and Barcelona midfielder is boss of Qatari club Al Sadd, and had recently distanced himself from talk of a Nou Camp coaching return. But Setien’s and Barcelona’s situation changed entirely after Friday’s capitulation to Bayern in Lisbon. The 133-cap ex-Spain playmaker would doubtless have the players’ ear. But with such little managerial experience, handling the internal politicking of Barcelona’s board would be another matter entirely.

Laurent Blanc

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Etihad Stadium
Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Etihad Stadium

The former Paris St Germain boss has been out of the managerial merry-go-round for four years, but had been rumoured for a short-term Barcelona role just last month. Blanc spent three years at PSG but paid the price for quarter-final Champions League elimination at the hands of Manchester City in 2016.

Patrick Kluivert

Brazil v Cameroon – International Friendly – Stadium MK
Brazil v Cameroon – International Friendly – Stadium MK

Former Holland striker Kluivert returned to old club Barcelona as academy director last year. The 44-year-old Ajax youth graduate has already forged a strong coaching reputation, and Barcelona do have form for promoting from within. The size of the job could prove too much too soon given his relative inexperience.