Three potential Xavi replacements for Barcelona

Barcelona must begin the search for Xavi Hernandez’s replacement, as we suggest on the three names viable for the hot seat in Catalonia.

There have been two big managerial announcements this week, with one treated as a significant loss by the club’s supporters and the other not so much. The latter being the decision made by Xavi Hernandez to leave Barcelona after the season ended, with the former being that of Jurgen Klopp’s choice to exit Liverpool in the summer.

While Klopp remains a celebrated manager and more so in Merseyside, Liverpool have already begun the process to identify a replacement. Xabi Alonso is a name they are considering and is being treated as a favourite for the job in the media.

As for Xavi, there’s still no clarity on how this decision will resonate with Joan Laporta, who had always given public support to his manager. However, things appear to have changed in the background following some dreadful run of results in the cup and league.

While speculation about Xavi’s long-term future has remained rife for a few months, with links to Mikel Arteta and others, the Villarreal defeat may have made the coach decide on his future. While Xavi’s public admission about wanting to leave Barcelona in the summer may seem like it’s more of the manager’s decision, as things stand, we are unaware of what’s happening in the background.

In any case, the background stories can come out later, as the current focus will be on who Barcelona chooses to replace their former midfielder and soon-to-be ex-manager. The big question is who Barcelona would bring as a replacement; on paper, there will be a lot of options, but the reality may spit a different picture.

One cannot say Xavi wasn’t supported by the club in his endeavours in the transfer market or on the pitch. Yet, the situation has changed a lot since the Spaniard’s appointment at the helm, as the financial conditions at Barcelona may have regressed since, which could have a direct effect on their movements in the transfer window.

Hence, there is a chance that incoming managers will suspect the working conditions, mainly due to the pressure created in the background. Other off-field come to influence managerial choices, but for now, we look at three potential candidates to replace Xavi at Barcelona, including an e,x-Real Madrid target.

Robert De Zerbi

Laporta will obviously consider managers from the Premier League for their style and experience. He might have wanted Mikel Arteta first and now had links to Jurgen Klopp in the wake of the German announcing his departure from the club when the season ends, but in truth, neither is a possible arrival.

Barcelona are a technical team and would need a manager in that line, and there’s no better coach than Roberto De Zerbi. The Italian has risen in stature following an impressive season with Brighton, but the Seagulls may have protected themselves with a release clause of sorts.

The exit clause remains unconfirmed, but it’s common practice with clubs to do so, especially for a manager of De Zerbi’s rising stature. Barcelona will obviously look closely at the financial conditions set in the Italians’ contract before making a decision. Still, he’s probably a top choice for an evolving side like the Catalans.

De Zerbi’s performances for Brighton have made him a target even for Real Madrid, although now they might stick with Carlo Ancelotti. However, joining Barcelona could more or less kill his chances of ever coaching at the Santiago Bernabeu, which might become a problem for the Italian, considering many reports have suggested he remains interested in joining the club one day.

De Zerbi’s talent deserves a top job, and he will fall on the radars of some of the top clubs, with Liverpool already interested. However, the Barcelona job may have a different appeal, although he would have more spending power in the current climate at any other English side, where, even at Brighton, he’s been given enough power to make essential transfer decisions.

Thiago Motta

Signing Thiago Motta, the former Barcelona and Inter Milan player, would represent a similar risk that the club took when appointing Xavi. Motta has only entered his managerial career, but he still has a lot to prove in the big game.

Motta, now the manager of Bologna, has shown enough promise for many top clubs to consider. His playing style and technical aspects are a bit superior to some other colleagues, but he’s also operating differently with the Serie A side.

He might be a steal for Barcelona, especially the squad he would inherit after arriving in Catalonia. However, he’s still a dark horse in this race, considering there are other more prestigious names likely to be linked with the hot seat at Camp Nou.

However, Motta could prove himself on the big stage and probably needs that platform to succeed. Like Xavi, he probably understands the club’s DNA and also the aspects of modern football, which makes him an interesting choice for Barcelona to consider.

Imanol Alguacil

Barcelona fans will probably dream of a possible return of Pep Guardiola to steer them out of their misery. Still, in truth, the club must make sensible choices rather than ambitious ones. For starters, the Manchester City boss is unlikely to end his agreement early at the Etihad, although there is hardly anyone like him in the world.

Yet, for Barcelona, it’s time to make sensible choices that will fit their current stature and pocket depth. Real Sociedad’s Imanol Alguacil could emerge as a good option for the Catalans to consider, especially after his excellent track record in La Liga.

He is working hard to bring the project at Sociedad to fruition, but it will be left incomplete if he leaves San Sebastian early. However, a coach of his stature might consider making the big switch within La Liga if Barcelona come calling.

However, there are a lot of factors to consider for Alguacil, especially if Sociedad end up selling some of their hot stars like Arsenal-linked Martin Zubimendi and Takefusa Kubo. Art Barcelona will inherit some top players, but there are also chances of the Catalans selling some of their notable stars.

In terms of La Liga experience and style of play, Alguacil might seem like the perfect choice for Barcelona to replace Xavi. However, the Catalans will face plenty of challenges in appointing a successor to Xavi, as much will depend on the club’s condition during the close season.

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