Who will succeed Luis Enrique at Barcelona?

01 March 2017 10:08

Luis Enrique on Wednesday night announced he will be stepping down as Barcelona head coach at the end of the current season.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the men who could succeed him at the Nou Camp.

DIEGO SIMEONE

The only club able to breach the Barcelona-Real Madrid duopoly and win the LaLiga title in the last 13 years has been Atletico Madrid. Their boss remains the fiery Argentinian Simeone, who has also steered Atleti into two Champions League finals. The 46-year-old might not be prepared to cross the capital to lead Real but he could feel the time is right to test himself under the most intense pressure.

JORGE SAMPAOLI

As soon as Sampaoli, another Argentinian, guided unfancied Chile to Copa America glory in 2015, he drew attention from Europe's leading clubs. Sevilla did well to win the race for his signature when the successful Unai Emery departed and Sampaoli is doing his very best to outstrip his predecessor's considerable achievements. The league is still well within Sevilla's reach this term, but if his team fall short, the attack-focused Sampaoli could choose to try his luck with like-minded Barca.

RONALD KOEMAN

Dutchman Koeman has tactfully swerved any questions about links with his former club Barcelona since he arrived at Everton. His achievements with Southampton and the growing confidence of his Toffees team have furthered his reputation as a wily tactician, and he possesses the motivational skills required to support a high-performing squad. His pragmatism, however, may weaken his case.

ARSENE WENGER

If the 'Wenger Out' brigade finally get their way then Barca could have a ready-made replacement for Luis Enrique, but one with decades more experience. Wenger has said he will manage next season whether or not he remains with Arsenal, and where better to prove a point to his Emirates Stadium critics but at the Nou Camp. At 67, he may not have enough working years ahead of him to properly impose his brand of entertaining football on the Catalans.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO

Wenger may not fancy making Barca his swansong in top-level football but Pochettino, his rival Premier League manager at Tottenham, has time on his side and a burgeoning reputation. However, the third Argentinian on this list has previously played for and coached Barcelona's local foes Espanyol and while that history is unlikely to dissuade Nou Camp president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Pochettino has said his connection to the Blanquiazules runs too deep for him to switch allegiances.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

:: Ernesto Valverde - enjoying an impressive LaLiga campaign with a modest Athletic Bilbao side.

:: Claudio Ranieri - the veteran Italian won the Premier League with Leicester but is now unemployed.

:: Xavi or Gerard - both former Barca midfielders. Passmaster Xavi is still playing for Al-Sadd while Gerard coaches Barcelona B, a past route into the top job for Spaniards.

Source: PA


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