BARCELONA: Ernesto Valverde took training on Monday morning but his future as Barcelona coach looks bleak, with the club expected to make a decision on his position later in a board meeting, a club source confirmed.
Valverde arrived more than two hours early at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper and took training as usual, despite Barca’s public pursuit of their iconic former midfielder Xavi Hernandez at the weekend.
Xavi, currently the coach of Qatari team Al-Sadd, has indicated he is not prepared to take charge immediately but the negotiations have left Valverde in limbo.
A board meeting is planned for 2 pm local time (1300 GMT) on Monday when Valverde’s position will be discussed.
If the decision is to remove him straight away, Barca could install a temporary replacement like B team coach Francisco Javier Garcia Pimienta, perhaps with a view to appointing Xavi at the end of the season.
Otherwise, they could opt for a more permanent solution immediately. Former Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino is a viable option, despite his previous claims he would never coach Barcelona due to connections with rivals Espanyol.
Ex-Real Betis coach Quique Setien, renowned for an attractive, attacking style of play, is out of work and has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.
Barcelona’s open hankering after Xavi has left a bitter taste, particularly with those who believe Valverde, who always speaks with sense and integrity, deserves better.
“I feel bad for Valverde, he doesn’t deserve this treatment,” former Barcelona coach, and current Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola said on Sunday. “I hope the situation can be resolved soon.”