Barcelona are zeroing in on Ernesto Valverde
When rumours of Luis Enrique’s departure from Barcelona surfaced, fans of the Catalan giants immediately began to dream about a big name managerial replacement. Their dreams of a high-profile replacement may soon be dashed. Instead, the club seem to be leaning towards the cheapest hire possible.
Guillem Balague claims the higher-ups at Barcelona are very interested in Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde. One of the advantages to his candidacy is the fact that his contract with Athletic ends at the conclusion of this season. As such, Barcelona wouldn’t need to pay anything other than Valverde’s wages to secure his services.
For the record, I don’t believe the size of Valverde’s price tag is the main reason that he’s emerged as the club’s top candidate. The reality is he’s done an excellent job with a La Liga club that’s relatively short on resources. Arming him with Barcelona’s budget could prove to be an excellent decision.
You also can’t overlook Valverde’s comfort level with the job. As a former Barcelona player, he at least has some idea of what he’s getting into. He can’t possibly fully understand the unique stresses of the job, but he has a better idea than most other potential managers.
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Despite those obvious qualifications, Valverde’s emergence as the frontrunner for the vacancy is still a huge surprise. We’re talking about one of the top five managerial jobs in all of football. Handing it to a man whose club currently occupies the eight spot in the La Liga table is still an unconventional move.
Of course, just because Valverde leads the race, doesn’t mean he will be the club’s ultimate choice. Other managers like Jorge Sampaoli, Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino are all still being linked with the high-profile vacancy. There is still time for one of those bigger names to leapfrog Valverde in the race to be Barcelona’s next manager.
Barcelona fans may be underwhelmed by the possibility of Ernesto Valverde becoming their next manager, but it may be a prudent choice for the club. Just because he doesn’t come with a huge price tag and an even bigger ego doesn’t mean he can’t take Barca to Champions League glory in the future.