Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as the shock favourite to be Barcelona’s next manager despite previously insisting he would never go there.
Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at the LaLiga club despite topping the league and being through to the Champions League knockout stages.
The current boss has also won back-to-back league titles, but has so far failed to win Europe’s elite club competition, losing out to Liverpool in the semi-final last year, and was dumped out of the Spanish Super Cup by Atletico Madrid.
A series of poor displays have reportedly left bosses frustrated at the Catalan club and he could be fired in the next 24 hours.
Club legend Xavi had been touted as a replacement with reports over the weekend suggesting a deal had been struck.
That has fallen through, though, and he will remain at current club Al Sadd in Qatar.
The tricky web of politics involved at Barcelona could be a reason for his hesitation to join at this stage.
Xavi is an ally of Victor Font, who is planning to run against current club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and he could be biding his time until then.
Ronald Koeman’s name has also been mentioned but he is also thought to have rejected the possibility of replacing Valverde.
Spanish publication AS claimed next in line is Pochettino, who has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham last year.
The report said he has already been contacted over the role even though it is not yet vacant, although Valverde could walk before he is pushed over the club’s public pursuit of his replacement.
Pochettino’s previous comments about the possibility of managing Barcelona would suggest that he is unlikely to take the position.
The 47-year-old played for and managed rivals Espanyol.
“I would never train Barcelona or Arsenal because I am tied to Tottenham. I grew up at Newell’s and I would never train Rosario Central,” he said while at Spurs.
He added that he would prefer to quit coaching than to coach Barcelona or any of the other teams.
“This is my decision. I would prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than to go and work in certain places.”