Barcelona set to announce Setien as new manager after sacking Valverde – reports

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Barcelona are to announce former Real Betis manager Quique Setien as their new manager with Ernesto Valverde set to lose his job, multiple reports suggest.

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague reports that it’s a done deal alongside a host of other respectable outlets.

Rumours have been rife in recent days of a change in coach for the European giants, after they lost the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup, 3-2 to Atletico Madrid, last week in Jeddah.

The La Liga champions led going into the final 10 minutes against Diego Simeone’s men and had two goals ruled out by VAR, but late goals from Angel Correa and Alvaro Morata saw them lose and leave Saudi Arabia early.

They’ve now won just one of their last five games in all competitions, returning from the international break with a disappointing 2-2 draw with local rivals Espanyol, who currently sit bottom of the table.

Former players Ronald Koeman and Xavi have also reportedly been linked with the job, alongside former Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Mauricio Pochettino had previously said he would “never train Barcelona or Arsenal because I am tied to Tottenham. I grew up at Newell’s and I would never train Rosario Central. I would prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than to go and work in certain places”

 

Setien was let go by Real Betis at the end of last season as they slumped to an underwhelming 10th-place finish, having received plenty of plaudits for leading them to sixth in his first season in the dugout.

But he’s frequently been linked with Barcelona in recent years due to the style of passing, attacking football he instiled at Betis and, before that, Las Palmas.

The 61-year-old is a noted admirer of Lionel Messi, on the record as saying “I have not seen any player like Messi in the history of football. He has been doing it for 10 years. I do not know if Pele had the continuity of Messi.”

Valverde has led Barcelona to back-to-back La Liga titles in his two full seasons in charge, and leaves with the club leading the table, ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference.

But he’s frequently been criticised for not adhering to the famous Barcelona style of play, while the shock exits in the Champions League – in which they let three-goals slip from first-legs against Roma and Liverpool – have also seen him lambasted in certain sections of the Spanish press.

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