Former Real Betis boss Quique Setien appears to be set to take over as the new Barcelona manager, with Ernesto Valverde on the brink of the sack.
Valverde has come under increasing pressure during his spell as Blaugrana boss, with fans regularly voicing their concerns over the side's performances under his tutelage - despite two league titles in as many seasons.
Following defeat in the Supercopa semi-finals in Saudi Arabia this month, he now seems destined to depart, and it's understood
Ernesto Valverde's loss percentage in LaLiga is basically the same as Pep Guardiola's. One of the very lowest in Barcelona's history. https://t.co/7u4Y9ERi2B— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) January 13, 2020
Setien’s agent Edoardo Crnjar in Barcelona... He’s the same agent that brought Boateng to Camp Nou last Jan.— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) January 13, 2020
The 61-year-old is currently unattached, having left Betis last May, while widespread reports (including AS) suggest the coach's agent is in Barcelona to discuss terms with the club.
A proponent for free-flowing attacking football, Setien has never won a trophy as a coach and was dismissed by Betis for a sharp drop-off in form at the end of the 2018/19 season. However, he is held in high regard in Spanish football for his tactical approach.
According to the journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Setien will be given a two-and-half-year contract. Other reports meanwhile suggest Setien will only be given a deal until the end of the season.
Should Valverde be dismissed as expected, it would mark the first time that Barcelona have sacked a manager in the middle of a season since 2003. The last coach to be sacked mid-campaign was Louis van Gaal, with the club 20 points behind leaders Real Sociedad.
This season Valverde's Barça sit top of La Liga on the same points as Real Madrid.