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Barcelona ‘open talks’ with Xavi over replacing Ronald Koeman

Despite watching him sign a new contract with Al-Sadd just days ago, a report from Catalonia has suggested that Barcelona have opened talks with Xavi over a deal to replace current manager Ronald Koeman this summer.

Koeman waved goodbye to his chances of winning the La Liga title this season after his side fell to a 2-1 defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday, ensuring the Dutchman lost one of his biggest bargaining tools as he seeks to convince new president Joan Laporta that he is the right man for the job.

Of all the candidates to replace Koeman, club icon Xavi always seemed like the most likely, but then he went and threw a spanner in the works by inking a new two-year contract to commit himself to Qatari side Al-Sadd until 2023.

However, just days after signing his new contract, ARA Sports claim that Xavi is already speaking to Laporta and is set for a meeting with the president in the coming days to discuss a potential return to Camp Nou.

RAC1 also add that Laporta has stepped up his search for a replacement after deciding that Koeman is not the right man. The Dutchman is expected to be giving his marching orders, and failure to find a replacement would be the only way he could stay on.

Xavi: Proud to continue at #AlSadd, talk of my departure at any moment is not true https://t.co/qYezic6zyu#XAVI2023 pic.twitter.com/7BFqnWyh8V

— ? #75 Al Sadd SC | نادي السد (@AlsaddSC) May 12, 2021

On the surface, a Xavi reunion does sound hard to believe, but there were rumours suggesting his new contract came with a special ‘Barcelona clause‘ which would allow him to return to Catalonia no questions asked.

It’s alleged that Xavi plans to speak with Laporta about the kind of responsibility he would be given at the club. He wants to know about staff structures, recruitment policy and the future of Lionel Messi, with a view to returning to the club immediately if an agreement can be reached.

Laporta is keen to keep talks under the radar – which going by this news, hasn’t happened – at the minute out of respect for Koeman, whom he acknowledges has done an excellent job to steady the ship in what has undoubtedly been one of the toughest periods in club history. But the president is keen to move on nonetheless.

Ronald Koeman
Laporta does not want to disrespect Koeman | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

But the president is keen to move on nonetheless, with Laporta looking for a big summer which will excite the club’s fanbase and unite everyone ahead of a renewed title push next season.

On top of convincing Messi to stay, bringing Xavi back to Camp Nou is seen as a surefire way of doing that, and plans to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland are further evidence of Laporta’s lofty ambitions.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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