It's expected that Barcelona will fire its manager and turn its attention to the current Belgium national team coach.

By 90Min
May 28, 2019

Barcelona could appoint former Wigan Athletic and Everton boss Roberto Martinez as their next coach, with Ernesto Valverde to be informed that he will not continue as manager next season imminently.

Valverde, who in February signed a contract extension until the end of next season, recently delivered a second La Liga title in as many seasons. However, Barça lost the Copa del Rey final against Valencia and once more failed to conquer Europe in the Champions League.

The latter saw Valverde's team lose what should have been a comfortable 3-0 aggregate lead against Liverpool, losing 4-0 at Anfield in the semi-final second leg and exiting the competition.

It has led to widespread reports that the 55-year-old, among the very highest paid club coaches in Europe, will now be shown the door as the Camp Nou hierarchy go in another direction.

Journalist Jota Jordi, speaking on 'El Chiringuito' as cited by SPORT, claims that the Barça board made a decision on Valverde's future following the disappointing Copa del Rey defeat to Valencia, with Martinez - assisted by Thierry Henry - now set to take over.

RAC1, in support of the Martinez appointment, add that Barça prefer a coach who is 'tougher' in training, more 'daring' with his tactics and substitutions, and plays a more 'attacking' style of football.

The local media outlet settles on Martinez as an individual who ticks those boxes. Last summer, the Catalan-native guided Belgium to a best ever third place finish at the World Cup.

RAC1 highlights that Barça will make a move for Martinez once it has been decided for certain that Valverde will be leaving the club.

Although likely now superseded by the more recent revelations, Mundo Deportivo also carries a story that suggests there have been 'doubts' as to whether Valverde is the 'ideal' coach for Barcelona for some time, despite public backing from president Josep Maria Bartomeu. The report also names several candidates who have seemingly been discussed internally.

Alongside Martinez, of whom it is mentioned that he is close with Camp Nou official Pep Segura, is former Barça star and fellow ex-Premier League manager Ronald Koeman, who spent six years with the club as a player and scored the only goal in the 1992 European Cup final.

Koeman is currently in charge of the resurgent Netherlands national team, while he won many plaudits in England during his time at Southampton.

Also named is Arsenal boss Unai Emery, whose greatest selling point appears to be his record in knockout football, perfect for Barça's Champions League ambitions, after the famously led Sevilla to three consecutive titles in the Europa League in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Those are the 'front line' options that Barça officials are said to be considering, while Ajax coach Erik ten Hag and former Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc. They are said to be secondary because Ten Hag lacks elite experience and Blanc has been out of work since 2016.

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