Barcelona ‘hours away’ from appointing Xavi as new manager

Xavi is now just ‘HOURS away’ from becoming Barcelona’s new manager after striking an agreement with president Joan Laporta in Doha – and telling his club Al-Sadd ‘I really want to go home’

  • Xavi Hernandez is on the brink of returning to Barcelona as first team manager
  • The Catalans sent out a team to Qatar on Wednesday to seal a deal for Xavi
  • Former midfielder is said to have told current club Al-Sadd of his desire to leave
  • Xavi is not expected to be in charge for Saturday’s LaLiga clash with Celta Vigo 

Barcelona are now just ‘hours away’ from officially confirming the return of Xavi as manager at the Nou Camp.

The Catalans identified their former golden boy as the sole candidate to take over from the recently sacked Ronald Koeman, and have spent the last week trying to prise him from his current role with Al-Sadd.

Barca have been working around the clock in the past few days to get a deal over the line, and went as far as sending a delegation to Qatar to smooth over the arrangements.

Xavi will be announced as Barcelona’s new coach on Thursday but will not start straight away

Now, according to latest reports in Spanish daily Marca, Xavi is in a position to be confirmed in the coming hours as Koeman’s successor.

Al-Sadd have, however, put up stern opposition to the move and have attempted to dig in and retain their manager.

In a club statement issued on Tuesday, they said: ‘The position of the club is clear from the beginning: we are committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us and we cannot allow him to leave at this delicate time of the season.’

Vice-president Rafa Yuste (left) and football director Mateu Alemany (right) headed to Qatar

Vice-president Rafa Yuste (left) and football director Mateu Alemany (right) headed to Qatar

Now it appears the wishes of Xavi have been taken into consideration and the final steps have been applied to complete the deal.

On Wednesday, Xavi said: ‘I’ve been talking to Barca for days, it’s done,’ Xavi said.

‘But now it depends on the conversations between clubs, they need to reach an agreement. Barca is coming to talk, we are all eager and excited. We’ll see if it ends up being done.

‘I really want to go home. I hope it happens. I have a contract and now the clubs have to negotiate. They already know my position.’

The Spaniard, who played over 700 times for Barcelona as a player, is set to be in the dugout for the first time on November 18 against fierce rivals Espanyol. 

After the international break, Xavi will be tasked with trying to get Barcelona away from mid-table obscurity, with the LaLiga giants sitting in ninth place – nine points off the summit of the Spanish top-flight after three games without a win. 

The Catalans’ chances of reaching the Champions League last-16 were boosted by back-to-back victories over Ukrainian side Dinamo Kiev – though a clash against Benfica on November 23 will help decide their knockout fate.  

Xavi is said to have told Al-Saad of his determination to 'go home' and manage Barcelona

Xavi is said to have told Al-Saad of his determination to ‘go home’ and manage Barcelona 

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