Barcelona has reportedly “opened talks” with club legend Xavi Hernandez about returning to the Camp Nou to take over from first-team coach Ronald Koeman at the end of the season.
The 41-year-old is currently in charge of Qatari side Al Sadd and has recently signed a two-year contract extension. However, Barcelona is set to meet with Xavi to discuss the possibility of coming home, according to Xavi Hernández Navarro at Diari Ara.
Xavi has denied rumors there is a clause in his new contract allowing him to return to Barcelona, but the report adds that Al Sadd will not stand in Xavi’s way if he does decide to leave.
The former midfielder has already met with president Joan Laporta and director of football Mateu Alemany and will meet again with the club in the “next few days to begin defining the conditions under which he would return to Barcelona.”
The report also adds that Laporta realizes the club can’t afford to land superstars such as Erling Haaland or Neymar this summer but thinks bringing back the former midfielder would excite fans.
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Koeman Talks Laporta Meeting
Koeman has already met with Laporta this week and offered a little insight into what the two men discussed at a pre-match press conference on Saturday ahead of the team’s final home game of the 2020-21 season against Celta Vigo, as reprted by Sport.
“I can’t explain much. We talked about the team, the season and recent results. We’ve arranged to meet again after the season,” he said. “The end of the season is the right moment to speak, above all for the club. I want to stay; I am happy and I see a lot of room to improve things. It’s a path that doesn’t end this season.”
The Dutchman has come in for criticism recently after seeing his team’s title hopes slip away after defeats to Granada and Real Madrid and draws against Levante and Atletico Madrid.
Yet Koeman has won the Copa del Rey this season and feels the media scrutiny and criticism he has been subjected to has been unfair.
“I feel a little bit mistreated in the last two weeks. If you analyze a season, you must analyse the changes to the team, the young players, that we won the cup, that we had 13 points in December and we’re still fighting for the league, even though it’s a small possibility,” he said. “That’s what you need to analyse. And if I heard the media in the last few days, it looks like we did a really bad job and I don’t agree.
Barcelona could match worst points total in 13 years
There’s no doubt that Koeman has had a mixed campaign in his first season at Barcelona. The team overcame a poor start to challenge for the title but then dropped points in crucial games to hand the initiative back to Atletico.
The Catalan giants could now match their worst La Liga points total in 13 years, according to Marca. Koeman’s men have 76 points and will match the unwanted record if they fail to win their final two games against Celta and Eibar.
Victories in those games may enhance Koeman’s chances of staying at Barcelona and seeing out his two-year deal, but it’s still unclear whether the Dutchman will stay on or if Laporta will decide it’s time to make a change.