Barcelona are considering a shock move to appoint Laurent Blanc as their new coach for next season, with Quique Setien’s future at the club hanging in the balance.
La Blaugrana lost out to rivals Real Madrid in La Liga for the first time since 2017, and there is a growing sense around the club that their ambitions of lifting the Champions League will once again go unfulfilled.
With the players and coaches clearly on different wavelengths, a change may be on the horizon in Catalonia. Spanish publication Sport now suggest that change may come in the form of ex-Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc.
As with every Barça story, however, there’s a catch.
Barça are keen to hand over control of the club to legend Xavi as soon as possible, but they may decide to wait a season before bringing him back to Camp Nou – due to disagreements between the ex-midfielder and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Bartomeu is expected to leave La Blaugrana at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, meaning Xavi could then arrive and instantly begin to rebuild the club on fresh ground. But that means Barça must find a coach willing to take over, knowing his reign will last only one season.
That’s where Blanc comes in.
The former Manchester United defender has been out of the managerial game since he left PSG in 2016, but he could be about to land himself one of the biggest jobs in football after a four-year absence.
The Frenchman is willing to accept the Catalan giants’ terms, convinced he can be a success with La Blaugrana – and potentially give the club no other option than to offer him a longer deal at the end of the season.
While it may come as a shock to some, this deal is beginning to make more and more sense to the Barça hierarchy.
It is worth remembering that Setien is still in charge at Camp Nou – despite delivering inconsistent results since his arrival in the winter – and he’ll remain at the helm for their Champions League last 16, second leg tie with Napoli.
But failure to progress further – or even win the trophy – could see the former Real Betis boss cast aside for Blanc, who is waiting impatiently in the wings.