There have been a number of question marks surrounding the future of Luis Enrique in light of Barcelona’s stuttering season, but if the Spaniard is to depart the Catalan giants, who are the contenders to replace him?
The latest name in the hat is Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs boss managed to take Southampton from a bottom of the table side to a genuinely strong force who were consistently in contention for the Europa League.
The Argentinian is doing big things at Spurs and his side are very much part of the title race, with the boss likely to be still kicking himself after scuppering last season’s title bid in dramatic fashion. Tottenham are currently second in the league and have lost just two games all season to rivals Chelsea and league rivals Manchester United.
With the likes of Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Harry Kane thriving under Pochettino, it may just be that the 44-year-old has the man management skills to keep the egos of Barcelona under wraps.
In football, it’s often said that going back to a former club can ruin the magic but it’s unlikely that would be the case for Frank Rijkaard.
The Dutch coach brought stability to the Nou Camp during a tough period and won the Champions League, two league titles and two Supercopa de Españas for his troubles. He was deadly in the transfer market attracting stars such as Ronaldinho to the club, and if that wasn’t enough, his actual coaching style itself was something really admirable.
Andres Iniesta is a Barcelona legend and Lionel Messi is arguably the best player the world has ever seen and their talent was nurtured by the Dutch veteran. Following Gerardo Martino’s departure in 2014, it was reported that Rijkaard was going back to Barca but rejected the opportunity.
Former Barcelona forward and current Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde has expressed interest in working at the Nou Camp and if he continues his success at Bilbao, it’s possible that we may see his wish fulfilled. The 52-year-old is highly rated, particularly in his native Spain and his side are currently eighth in the league and have qualified for the Round of the Last 32 in the Europa League having finished second in Group F and will face Apoel next, a great game for using some of the free betting offers available from tipsters like Sbat.
Valverde was heavily linked with the job following the late great Tito Vilanova’s resignation on 2013 but the board favoured Martino. He has also been offered the position as manager for his national signed but rejected their offer and is said to be loving life at Bilbao.
Following a successful stint at Southampton and Ajax, Ronald Koeman was more than deserving of the Everton. The philosophy he instilled at Ajax brought great success to the Dutch club and Southampton, he revamped the club’s scouting methods and youth squad and it has paid dividends.
After arguably overachieving at the Saints, chalking off highly impressive fifth place finish, it’s no surprise that Everton came knocking. The Toffees are seventh in the club but their recent 4-0 against Man City with goals from youngsters Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman suggest this is just the beginning for Koeman and his reign. However, if Barcelona do come knocking the offer may just be too good to refuse for the former Blaugrana.