FC Barcelona

Barcelona keen for Xavi to succeed Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou

Graeme Bailey
Xavi is not convinced by the prospect of returning to Barcelona
Xavi is not convinced by the prospect of returning to Barcelona / Simon Holmes/Getty Images
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Barcelona are working hard to convince Xavi to return to the club and replace Ronald Koeman as head coach, 90min has been told.

Joan Laporta and the club's board of directors have put together a list of replacements who could come in and replace the Dutchman, having already given Koeman a dreaded vote of confidence earlier this month.

Koeman has been unable to steady the ship since then, with draws against Granada and Cadiz followed by another Champions League humbling at Benfica.

90min revealed earlier this month that the board have decided to move on from Koeman, and they have been working hard in the background to bring in his successor.

Catalonian sources have now confirmed that a number of people connected to Barça are attempting to convince Xavi to 'come home'. The legendary Spaniard, who patrolled the club's midfield for the best part of two decades, is currently in Qatar with Al-Sadd, whom he finished his playing career with in 2019 before taking over as manager.

He committed his future to the club earlier this summer, signing a two-year contract extension, despite being previously linked with the Barça job. Indeed, before Laporta was re-elected as president, Xavi was linked closely to one of his rivals, Victor Font.

As a result, Laporta and Xavi are not thought to be on the best of terms. Those around the club hope that it won't be an issue, but it is seemingly playing a part in his reluctance to return at this stage.

Koeman has cut a dejected figure on the touchline for Barcelona
Koeman has cut a dejected figure on the touchline for Barcelona / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi is also believed to be worried about the work needed at Barcelona to turn things around and some close to the club have warned him not to make the move. Former team-mate Luis Suarez is among those to have warned him against returning, telling Spanish publication Sport in an interview that would be a mistake.

"At Barça there is a war that hurts the players," Suarez remarked. "I personally recommend Xavi to wait. This is not the ideal time to get to the club. He’s smart he has to wait a moment."

While Xavi is the man that Barça want, the club are working on other options - and they are not short of ideas. However, persuading someone to take over from Koeman is proving problematic.

Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers, Imanol Alguacil, Andrea Pirlo and Erik ten Hag are among those who have been discussed within the corridors of power, but Laporta is also working hard on interim options.

Roberto Martinez has also been linked
Roberto Martinez has also been linked / Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Special advisor Jordi Cruyff has already downplayed his interest, but one name emerging as a contender is Giovanni van Bronckhorst. A former Barcelona midfielder, the Dutchman has previously enjoyed a good spell in charge of Feyenoord before a stint in China with Guangzhou R&F. He was even linked with the Netherlands national team job before Louis van Gaal returned to the post.

Two other names rumoured to be in the mix - Phillip Cocu and current Barcelona B coach Sergi Barjuan - are unlikely to be offered the role at this stage.

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