Barcelona’s Xavi Pursuit Takes Unexpected New Twist

Xavi Hernandez

Getty Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona had been expected to announce that club legend Xavi Hernandez had agreed to replace Ronald Koeman as first-team coach after vice president Rafa Yuste and director of football Mateu Alemany flew out to Qatar for talks.

The two executives were photographed at the Al-Gharafah Stadium on Wednesday in conversation with Xavi’s agents Arturo Canales and Fernando Solana, as reported by Edu Polo at Mundo Deportivo.

Xavi’s club Al Sadd have acknowledged the arrival of the Barcelona delegation on social media and insist they “appreciate and respect this.” However, the Qatar side’s chief executive officer Turk Al-Ali has also insisted the club are not interested in letting Xavi leave.

He said, “The club’s position is clear from the beginning – we are committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us and we cannot have him leave at this sensitive time of the season.”

Barcelona had been expected to complete a deal for Xavi imminently, as reported by transfer expert Fabrizio Romano. However, Turk Al-Ali’s words suggest there is still some work to be done.

Xavi has already reached agreement with Barcelona to sign on until June 2024, as reported by Diario Sport. The former midfielder had also agreed to “receive a lower salary” than his current pay packet with the Qatari side.

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Laporta To Fly Out For Talks?

Javi Miguel at Diario AS has called for calm regarding Al Sadd’s statement on Xavi and believes it is simply the Qatari side asking Barcelona president Joan Laporta to fly out and join the talks.

Al Sadd owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Al Thani does not want to meet with Yuste and Alemany and “will only agreed to meet” with Laporta, according to Miguel. The president may therefore have to make a “lightning trip to Doha in order not to jeopardize the operation.”

Meanwhile, Xavi has refused to talk about his future. He was asked about the speculation surrounding his future at a news conference but gave very little away, saying only, “I am currently focused on my work with Al Sadd, and I cannot talk about anything else.”

Barjuan To Continue As Interim Coach

Sergi Barjuan is expected to continue as interim coach for the time being and will be in charge of the Catalan giants for the team’s next game on Saturday, November 6 against Celta Vigo at Balaidos, as reported by Diario Sport.

The former Barcelona B coach has already overseen a 1-1 draw with Alaves and the 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League that has kept the Catalan giants’s hopes of qualification alive.

Barjuan was asked about his future after the win in Kiev and admitted he did not know how long he would stay in charge, as reported by Football Espana.

“I lived the game as if it were my team. The only way for us all to go together is for me to show serenity in order to convince them and help them improve,” he said. “I cannot think about whether I will be there tomorrow. I want to help the club and I want to do what I am doing. There is not the slightest doubt [in that].”

Saturday’s match is Barcelona’s final game before the last international break of 2021. The Catalan giants do not play again until Espanyol visit on November 20, and it would still be a surprise if Xavi were not installed as Barca boss in time for that match.

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