Ernesto Valverde arrived at Barcelona’s training ground early on Monday after a weekend of speculation. There is a training session in the morning but it’s possible Valverde could be sacked later in the day. The board are trying to find a replacement and have a meeting schedule for the afternoon.
Andres Iniesta has given his verdict on Barcelona’s recent pursuit of Xavi. He said: “Barcelona’s behaviour has been a little ugly, you must have respect for your coach. Valverde’s situation is now weakened a lot. I hope that the situation in Barcelona can be solved because it’s not pleasant what is happening, either for the coach or the players or even the fans.”
Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has been offered to Barcelona. The Italian is out of work but a “person close to him” has been in touch with the Spanish champions to make them aware he would welcome an approach.
Barcelona are considering replacements for Ernesto Valverde and are thinking about appointing Mauricio Pochettino, Quique Setien or Gabi Milito until the end of the season. Thierry Henry’s name has also been mentioned, but he has just joined Montreal Impact.
Barcelona contacted Ronald Koeman about the manager’s job at the club after being turned down by Xavi but also received a no from the Dutch coach. Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is the latest target and has been contacted, although Barca B boss Garcia Pimienta is also an option to take over.
Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has defended Ernesto Valverde amid speculation he may lose his job at the Camp Nou. He said: “Valverde is an experienced coach who has won titles and he has the chance to win more. I feel for him because I like him a lot. He’s doing a really good job and can almost all the titles, as they’re leading LaLiga and are into the Champions League knockouts. He is one of the best Spanish coaches.”
Pep Guardiola was asked if Sergio Aguero is the best forward he’s ever coached after the Manchester City star became the Premier League’s top overseas goalscorer on Sunday. Pep replied: “The best is Messi. Messi is a No 9, a No 10, a No 11, a No 12, a No 6, a No 5, a No 4, whatever. But of the rest [Agüero] is absolutely one of the best.”
Barcelona are debating whether to bring in a new No.9 in the January transfer window after losing Luis Suarez to injury for four months. The club want Lautaro Martinez but a winter transfer is unlikely. Cristhian Stuani, Carlos Vela, Chimy Avila and Gabriel Barbosa are other names mentioned.