Barcelona have had a pretty traumatic weekend as things go and head into a new week in a real mess and with Ernesto Valverde’s future at the club unclear.
The club have spent the last few days publicly pursuing Xavi, a move which appears to have failed for now but which may see the former midfielder arrive in the summer.
Ernesto Valverde remains the club’s manager but will be all too aware his club have been trying their best to replace him and has had his position at the club weakened.
The 55-year-old is still expected to take training on Monday morning which is likely to be a little awkward, particularly as it’s been reported plenty of Barca players have been on the phone to Xavi over the weekend to find out if he would accept the club’s offer.
Reports have also claimed that Barcelona have also been turned down by Ronald Koeman, that Barca B boss García Pimienta was sounded out last week about possibly taking over until the end of the season and that Mauricio Pochettino has now emerged as the top choice to manage the club.
So where does all that leave Valverde? Sport say he’s pissed off but there’s no suggestion that he is going to resign. However, there is speculation he could still be fired even though Xavi does not appear to be coming.
Mundo Deportivo reckon that Garcia Pimienta could take over until the end of the season, with Xavi then being appointed in the summer after his Al Sadd contract ends.
Of course whoever does manage the club until the end of the campaign was handed another problem on Sunday when Luis Suarez was ruled out for four months after having knee surgery.
The Uruguay international has 14 goals and nine assists for Barca this season, and while Antoine Griezmann is likely to be his direct replacement in the starting XI his injury does leave Barca light in attack.
Ousmane Dembele is not expected back until February, and his injury record hardly inspires confidence he will play regularly until the end of the season. Youngsters 17-year-old Ansu Fati and 21-year-old Carles Perez are fit, available and talented but raw.
The January transfer window is open but is a tricky one to negotiate successfully with teams loathe to lose players midway through the season. Barca’s most recent winter signings hardly inspire confidence either: Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jeison Murillo, Yerry Mina and Philippe Coutinho are just some of the players who have arrived recently and swiftly departed.
Barcelona will also surely need to resolve their managerial situation before they go dipping into the transfer window, meaning it is likely to be another busy and dramatic week at the Camp Nou.