Reputed Sky Sports journalist Guillem Balague has confirmed that Barcelona are currently keeping tabs on several managers – one of them being Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.
With Luis Enrique’s future at the club still far from secure, Barca have already begun looking for replacements, and have identified Mauricio Pochettino as one of the potential candidates for the job. However, as per Balague, the board has other targets in mind as well, and they are yet to make any concrete decisions on the matter.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Spanish journalist revealed: “The board have drawn up a shortlist of replacements for Luis Enrique.
“Before the PSG game, Luis Enrique was going to be the one to decide if he wanted to renew his contract or not, and Barcelona were happy to keep him. Now the situation has changed, and they realise that there are players who do not think Luis Enrique should stay.
“And the players themselves feel that Luis Enrique will leave and the slight criticism of his tactics after the PSG defeat by Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta suggest that the top guys in the team possibly feel Barcelona need a new impulse.”
Balague then talked about Barca’s two prime candidates – Mauricio Pochettino and Jorge Sampaoli.
“Pochettino has got a lot of admirers at the Camp Nou and I cannot see many other managers better than him around,” he continued.
“Plus, he understands what the fans of Barcelona would require and what to do with that team, but he was Espanyol captain and that would make difficult his move to Barcelona. And he feels he has a job to do at Spurs of course.
“Sampaoli is another situation – Juanma Lillo, his assistant, was key in the developing of Pep Guardiola as a coach, based especially on his ideas about the positional game. So Sampaoli would be a good choice. He is on their shortlist, but he is not the only one.
He has a buyout clause of £1.35m, so if anyone wants him they will have to pay that. But I am pretty sure he is open to the idea of going to Barcelona.”
“Neymar wanted him to become the Brazilian national coach recently and also has been privately having meals with him, even hosting him in his house near Barcelona. Lionel Messi also likes him and has told him so, while Luis Suarez would also give his vote of confidence to Sampaoli if he was the chosen one.”