Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague has revealed that Ernesto Valverde is likely to be the next Barcelona manager when Luis Enrique steps down.
Enrique announced at a press conference this week that he would be leaving the Catalan giants at the end of the season after a trophy-laden spell in charge.
While he will now hope to lead them to further honours, the focus will slowly switch to who will be appointed his successor as it will be a crucial decision given the current make-up of the squad.
With several ageing players and many unconvinced by Barca this season given their troubles both domestically and in Europe, the next coach will play a pivotal role in ensuring that there is no drop off.
According to Balague, one man seems to be the priority for Barcelona, but whether or not he joins them remains to be seen.
“Ernesto Valverde, who finishes his contract at the end of the season, is the top priority. But he has said no twice, To say no a third time would be extraordinary,” he told Sky Sports.
“Sampaoli fits the style required by the fans, but there are doubts about his strong personality (left wing, very open about his ideals, likes rock and roll… in the city of the Lyceo opera).”
Valverde is currently in charge at Athletic Bilbao, and has a wealth of experience managing in La Liga while he also enjoyed two years at Barcelona as a player.
While he was limited in terms of appearances, he did still win the Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with the club, and so will have some level of knowledge of it works.
It remains to be seen whether or not he accepts the job moving forward, but Balague did go on to add the several other candidates have not yet been ruled out, including the likes of Ronald Koeman, Frank de Boer and Jurgen Klopp.