Barcelona make Mauricio Pochettino their No 1 target to replace Quique Setien with the former Tottenham boss backtracking on his vow never to manage at the Nou Camp after the club’s horror season
- Barcelona are lining up Mauricio Pochettino as the man to replace Quique Setien
- Pochettino previously ruled out managing Barca having managed Espanyol
- But with Espanyol in Spain’s second tier, Pochettino has backtracked on his vow
- The Argentine has been without a job since he was sacked by Spurs last year
Mauricio Pochettino could make a dramatic return to management at Barcelona if the club replace Quique Setien this summer.
Pochettino had previously ruled out taking over at Barcelona having previously been a manager at Barca’s city rivals Espanyol.
But Espanyol now find themselves in the second tier in Spain and Pochettino has back-tracked on previous remarks that he would rather go back and work on the farm in Argentina than coach at the Nou Camp.
Mauricio Pochettino could make a dramatic return to management with Barcelona
Pochettino was sounded out for the Barca job in January when president Josep Bartomeu sacked Ernesto Valverde.
In the end it was Setien who got the job but despite taking over when Barcelona were top he failed to win the league and if he does not deliver the Champions League he will be replaced.
Barcelona president Bartomeu has an excellent relationship with former Spurs coach Pochettino and he is now the number one candidate if a change is required in the next couple of months.
Barcelona manager Quique Setien has endured a horror start to life at the Nou Camp
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has an excellent relationship with Pochettino
Asked by El Pais about his previous farmyard knock-back of the Barcelona job Pochettino said: ‘Espanyol is where I made my name but I am not arrogant and I don’t like having made a statement like that on. Perhaps now I would not have said that because in life you never know what will happen.
‘I had seen Bartomeu in a cafe [in 2018] and we greeted each other and chatted for five minutes. That generated a rumour and I wanted to quash the rumour but I did not want to disrespect Barcelona.’
Pochettino has previously indicated that he would struggle to coach Barcelona against Espanyol who he captained and coached during his career in Spain.
But the two teams will not meet in LaLiga next season because Espanyol were relegated for the first time in 27 years.
Pochettino has strong ties to Espanyol, having played for and managed the Spanish club
If Barcelona look for a new coach this summer it will be a somewhat awkward appointment because president Bartomeu only has one year left as president.
Whoever takes the job will be aware he could be replaced by a new president in 2021.
That has made for a reduced field of candidates with favourite Xavi already having made…