With current boss Luis Enrique having announced that he will step down at the end of the season, speculation has began to grow as to who will be next for the managers job at Barcelona. Although The Catalan giants are remaining tight lipped at present, several candidates have jumped to the front of the queue. Here is a look at the current main contenders for one of football’s most prestigious jobs.
Who Could be Next for the Managers job at Barcelona?
After a successful spell at Southampton, he steered Tottenham to 3rd place last season. He has them currently in 2nd this season and the Argentinian now has top clubs taking notice.
Still relatively new to management, Pochettino has yet to win a trophy. He does, however, like to play good attacking football. He also makes his sides difficult to beat. If he could transfer this to the Camp Nou, with the resources and players he would have at his disposal, Barça could have a bright future under a bright young manager.
Getting Pochettino could be difficult, though. He has recently signed a new contract at White Hart Lane and seems committed to the club. If Barcelona came calling though, we may see that commitment tested.
The ex Dutch international, Barça defender and current Everton manager will forever have a place in the hearts of Barcelona fans. It was his rocket at Wembley that gave the club it’s first European Cup in 1992.
Although trophies have been hard to come by during his managerial career, he has enjoyed success. He has done well at both Ajax and PSV in Holland, and Benfica in Portugal. His time in England has also been successful. He took Southampton to the next level, getting them into Europe. This got him the job at Everton where the Toffee’s currently lie a respectable 7th.
He has the Barcelona DNA installed in him, having played under Johan Cruyff and being a former team mate of Pep Guardiola. As seen at both Everton and Southampton, he also likes to play attractive football where possible. This makes him a good fit; however, he does have one blip on his CV. An unsuccessful time at Valencia, his only managerial role in Spain to date.
With the style of football he likes to play, the Frenchman could well be the perfect man for Spanish giants. Wenger likes to play with skillful midfielders and play a possession based game. His philosophy has always been technique over strength. This served him well until the last few seasons, where a refusal to change seems to be his undoing. La Liga, however, could be the place to continue how he believes the beautiful game should be played.
The man who has won 9 trophies could be about to depart North London. Many fans are now pining for a new manager to give them a more successful side. This could be key to the main men at Barça as it may not take too much persuasion or money to tempt their man. However, Wenger and Arsenal have been very loyal to each other over the years so prizing him away may be more difficult than first thought. This may be to the disappointment of some fans in North London, especially after their devastating loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
When Luis Enrique announced his decision to leave the Camp Nou, Sampaoli was initially installed as favourite. He has since played down rumours linking him to the job. His current club Sevilla, a club he only joined last year, are having a successful season.
Currently doing well in the Champions League, they are also third in La Liga and put an end to Real Madrid’s impressive 40 game unbeaten run. He is a successful former national team manager too having lead Chile to their first Copa America title. He also enjoys a pressing, attacking style of play. A style that would be welcomed at Barça.
Having only recently been appointed and currently enjoying a successful time, Sampaoli may be reluctant to leave so soon. It could be a big may, however, if faced with the prospect of managing one of the world’s biggest clubs.
Former Barça striker and current Athletic Bilbao manager Valverde is rumoured to be a frontrunner for the soon to vacant position. He has led the Basque club to a Spanish Super Cup victory, European qualification and a Copa del Rey final.
Valverde has managed at Olympiakos, a place where he is still considered as a god, Espanyol and Bilbao. His offensive style and his liking of dominating games could prove attractive to those decision makers at the Camp Nou. The fact he also played for the club and knows it well also adds weight to his CV.
Xavi – Currently studying for his coaching qualifications, the ex Barça midfielder has over 500 appearances and countless to his name and during his time at in Catalonia. Currently playing in Qatar, the legend will almost certainly be seen back at the Camp Nou, however, this may come just a little too soon.
Laurent Blanc – Currently taking a break from football after completing consecutive domestic trebles at Paris Saint-Germain. An ex Barcelona defender, who would be available for free, could be tempting if attempts to secure other targets fail.
Jurgen Klopp – Having managed Borussia Dortmund and currently in charge of Liverpool, the German would not be daunted by Barcelona. He is well thought of throughout football, however, he is tied to Liverpool until 2022 and even after a difficult spell, he is a popular man at Anfield and looks unlikely to leave at present. Even to Barça.
Antonio Conte – Only appointed Chelsea boss last summer and he already he looks on course to bring the title back to Stamford Bridge. A manager with a calibre such as Conte’s will always be in demand, but Chelsea and their owner Roman Abramovich will not let him go easily.
It is no secret that the Spanish and world giants like managers who have played at the club and therefore know the club well. Above, there are several candidates who fit this criteria and it has worked well in the past; however, can this trusted formula keep on working or will a new approach be tested and seen very soon? Tell will tell.