Xavi to become Barcelona's next manager? Al Sadd official confirms talks to replace Ernesto Valverde

Xavi is a Barcelona legend
Xavi is a Barcelona legend

Barcelona legend Xavi is reportedly in talks to replace Ernesto Valverde as the club's next manager.

The former midfielder, current manager of Al Sadd in Qatar, is said to have recently held a two-hour meeting with Blaugrana chiefs - including sporting director Eric Abidal and CEO Oscar Grau - while the club were in Spanish Super Cup action in Saudi Arabia.

The Daily Mail claim Xavi will beat names such as Ronald Koeman, Roberto Martinez and Thierry Henry to one of the world's most sought-after positions.

Muhammad Ghulam Al Balushi, Al Sadd's sporting director, confirmed discussions between the Spanish giants and Xavi.

He told local TV station AlKass: "There are negotiations between Xavi and Barcelona [going on] now and we wish him well wherever he wants to go."

Ernesto Valverde
Ernesto Valverde was appointed by Barcelona in 2017

Xavi was appointed as manager of Al Sadd in 2019 after hanging up his boots, following a four-year stint there as a player.

Under him they reached the second round of the Club World Cup, losing to Monterrey before a 6-2 thrashing to Esperance Tunis in a fifth-place play-off.

On Saturday evening they were 4-1 winners against Al-Rayan to reach the final of the Qatar Cup.

After which he said: "Coaching Barça is my dream, I cannot hide that. Everyone knows. But my focus is on Al-Sadd. I do not say anything (else). I want to have respect for Valverde.

"I cannot say anything, I am focused on Al Sadd. (Barça) were here to talk to me, also to check on Ousmane Dembele. That's it. I cannot say. Sorry. I cannot inform you too much. Just that I met with Abidal, my friend ... I am focused on my team, Al Sadd."

It remains to be seen whether Xavi will take charge immediately or in the summer, but pressure is piling on Valverde, who was booed during their Super Cup defeat to Atletico Madrid.

They threw away a 2-1 lead in the closing stages of that clash and the club see the 39-year-old as a top candidate to take over.

Barca are currently level on points with Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga, are set to play their first Copa del Rey match of the season later this month and will face Napoli over two legs in the last 16 of the Champions League (they are 11/2 with Sky Bet to win the trophy).

Xavi made a record 767 appearances for Barca's first team between 1998 and 2015, winning 25 trophies during his time at Camp Nou.

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