As the turmoil at Barcelona continues, it’s been suggested that Leo Messi’s current stance at the club could see them go all out to secure Xavi as their new manager this summer.
Messi has suspended talks over his new contract, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2021.
Suggestions that he might leave the club at that point – per Cadena Ser and cited by the Evening Standard – aren’t without foundation, however, journalist, Duncan Castles, has pointed out that the cracks could be smoothed over with the hire of Messi’s former team-mate as the new first team coach.
“We have what seems to be an almost eternal problem at Barcelona in that Messi is unhappy with the way the club is run. He’s unhappy that they’re almost certainly going to lose La Liga, he’s unhappy that they’re not in shape to win the Champions League again, and unhappy with his treatment from the club.
“He’s out of contract in a year’s time, and has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave at the end of each season if he chooses to do so. That, above all else, is provoking this move for Xavi by Bartomeu, because he needs to solve the Lionel Messi problem before he solves any other problem.
“Messi wants Xavi, therefore [Bartomeu might] push to bring the coach in, and try and push the many many issues Barcelona are facing as a squad and a team – because of an ageing squad, the money wasted on recruitment over the years – down the line by having another managerial announcement inside seven months.”
Whether that plays into the narrative that Messi has vehemently denied, is a moot point.
Clearly, he and his team-mates should always want the very best, and the club’s board must be duty-bound to supply the right environment within which the players can flourish.
However, just because Xavi has the name and the history of the club in his favour, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he would be a success.
You can’t use Pep Guardiola as the template either, because some of the players are 12 years further on from when he took them over at their pomp.
Either way, it does seem that Setien’s days are numbered and it would be a surprise to see him in the post next season, whether or not Xavi returns.