The reaction of potential candidates to take over Xavi as Barcelona manager.
Following Xavi Hernández’s announcement of his impending departure from Barcelona in June, the leading contenders for the Barça managerial position have been responding to his candidacy. According to Gabriel Sans of Mundo Deportivo, while some such as Alguacil, Arteta, Motta, and Conceiçao, have openly addressed the matter, others, like Tuchel, have communicated indirectly through their respective clubs. Meanwhile, figures like Flick have maintained silence, yet their actions suggest a level of interest. Here’s a look at the reactions from all fronts.
The Arsenal coach firmly refuted rumors suggesting his departure from the club at the end of the season. Despite being a prominent name linked with a move to Camp Nou, the Basque coach emphasized his commitment to Arsenal, with a contract in place until 2025. “I will not be leaving the club this summer,” he asserted, dismissing claims that he had already informed those close to him otherwise as “Fake News.” He reiterated his belief that he was in the correct position, stating, “We still have a lot of work to do.”
When questioned about the possibility of being considered as a candidate to replace Xavi, Sergio Conceiçao, Porto’s coach, refrained from providing clarity regarding his future. The coach, known for his close ties to Jorge Mendes and, consequently, to Barcelona, as of June 2024, remained non-committal, emphasizing his current focus on the competition while keeping his options open. “My responsibility, along with that of the players, is to concentrate solely on serving FC Porto and delivering our best,” he stated. “Speculating about other matters serves no purpose.” Additionally, Conceiçao enjoys the endorsement of both presidential candidates at the club, Pinto da Costa and Villas Boas.
Bayern Munich issued a statement to clarify that their coach, Thomas Tuchel did not volunteer himself for consideration by Barcelona. “Our coach, Thomas Tuchel, responded to fan inquiries about his experiences abroad, particularly at PSG and Chelsea, as well as his views on Spanish football,” Bayern stated in a release co-signed by the club’s President of the Board of Directors, Jan Christian Dreesen, and the Sports Director, Christoph Freund. “At no point did he discuss Xavi Hernández or his potential successor, as inaccurately claimed. We will not tolerate such unfounded assertions against our coach, which consistently originate from the same quarters,” they asserted, though without specifying the source.
Imanol Alguacil made it clear that his allegiance lies with Real Sociedad. When questioned about the prospect of joining Barcelona and his interest in coaching at the Catalan club, he emphatically dismissed the idea. “I am at the best possible club, highly esteemed and thrilled to be a part of Real. My desire is to continue contributing to our history here; my contract extends until 2025, and I hope for its renewal. However, I must earn that privilege. There is nowhere else I’d rather be than here,” he stated unequivocally.
After departing from Liverpool at the conclusion of the season, the 56-year-old German, Jürgen Klopp, plans to take a sabbatical year. Despite having a contract with the English club until 2026, Klopp expressed feeling drained and announced his departure effective June 30. He has made it clear that he will not entertain any job offers for the upcoming season, firmly committing to a period of rest and rejuvenation.
Hansi Flick, the former German national team coach, is presently unattached to any club and is reportedly eyeing the opportunity to succeed Xavi at Barcelona. According to Bild, Flick has initiated Spanish language classes as part of his preparation. Additional reports suggest that he is actively pursuing the prospect and that meetings are scheduled for this week to strategize his potential arrival.
Thiago Motta, who shared some years with Xavi Hernández at Barcelona, spoke to the Italian press yesterday regarding the announcement made by the Catalan coach. “I’m very sorry, he was doing a great job. I also saw Klopp, who announced his departure. I don’t know the reasons and I wish him all the best,” he said. When asked about his own future, he avoided the topic: “I live in the present, and my present is solely with Bologna. I’m doing well here. I’m enjoying this moment, it’s fantastic, largely thanks to our fans.”