Luis Enrique recently announced that he would be stepping down as manager of Barcelona in the summer, stating that he felt worn out by the pressures of the job.
The 46-year-old has enjoyed a short yet highly successful tenure at the Camp Nou, and won a treble in his first season in charge followed by a double in his second. This is currently his third season at the helm, and Barcelona’s imminent exit from the Champions League after a harrowing 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain may have upped the pressure on the former Celta de Vigo boss. Here we take a look at three managers who could replace Enrique…
At the time of writing the favourite to step into one of the most coveted managerial roles in the world is the current Sevilla boss. Sampaoli only took on the job at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium last summer, but has already transformed Los Blanquirrojos into a title-challenging force. Sevilla ended Real Madrid’s 40-match unbeaten streak in all competitions in January, and are flying high in the league with significant breathing space between themselves and Atletico Madrid.
The oldest club in Spain look set to continue their immense form when they take on Deportivo Alaves, and are 49/50 with Sportsbet.io to do the business. With Sevilla flying high with potential to push further, the question is whether Sampaoli will want to leave, or prove his managerial prowess with the smaller club.
Barcelona may look to one of the longest-serving figures in the game to provide an experienced touch going forward. Wenger plays an attractive brand of football which is in line with the Barcelona philosophy, and it would take little time for him to get on board with the way things are done at the Camp Nou. Wenger’s earlier years with Arsenal were highly successful, and during his tenure in North London the Frenchman has claimed three Premier League titles and six FA Cups.
The 67-year-old’s contract runs out soon and it is still unclear as to whether it will be renewed. If Wenger takes control of the Barca players and also has access to the club’s superior transfer budget he could start claiming major trophies again.
As a former Barca legend Koeman has often been linked with a return to the club as manager. And it certainly seems likely that one day the Dutchman will take over as boss at the Camp Nou. But whether that will be this summer is another question. The Everton boss seems well settled in England’s top flight and is also enjoying the challenge of turning the Toffees into a title-challenging side. He has been given the financial backing from the club’s owners, and in the next few seasons may be able to turn the Liverpool-based side into a major force in the league. After he has achieved this he may then feel that the time is right for him to move to Barcelona.
At the moment, it is hard to say which manager will come into one of the most pressured, yet sought-after roles in the game. Other contenders are Ernesto Valverde of Athletic Bilbao, Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur, and Laurent Blanc of PSG.