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Who will succeed Luis Enrique at Barcelona?

Tuesday 28th March 2017
As Luis Enrique's tenure draws to a close, Barcelona still remain in the hunt for three trophies: La Liga, Champions League, and Copa del Rey. Inevitably, however, attention has already turned to identifying the manager set to gain control at the Nou Camp when Enrique departs this summer.
Here are the contenders to take charge at Barcelona next season

The Favourites

Ernesto Valverde

After spending two seasons playing for Barcelona (1988-90), Ernesto Valverde understands its unique philosophy better than most. The 53-year-old has taken charge of six teams throughout his managerial career, notably guiding Olympiakos to three Greek championships. Since returning to Athletic Bilbao, he has delivered the Basque club's first trophy in 31 years, with success in the Spanish Super Cup. Bilbao currently sit seventh in La Liga. Taking over at Barça would be a major step-up for its talented coach. Could Valverde cope with the added pressure?

Ronald Koeman

Another former Barcelona player and key figure in Johan Cruyff's dream team, Ronald Koeman amassed four La Liga titles and a European Cup. The Everton boss, who has three Eredivisie titles and a Copa del Rey on his managerial CV, has previously expressed a desire to take over the reins at the Nou Camp. The Dutchman's reputation continues to grow in the Premier League. His policy to develop young players, as well as having connections to the club, will appeal to the Blaugrana. Koeman could prove a good fit for the Catalans next season.

Jorge Sampaoli

Jorge Sampaoli initially tasted success at Universidad de Chile. Sensationally, he then triumphed at Copa America 2015 with the Chile national team. His name has since emerged in the European spotlight, having impressed with Sevilla. However, after his new side dropped off pace in the title race then suffered defeat to Leicester City in the Champions League, Barcelona could have second thoughts over appointing the Argentine. Sampaoli's attack-minded style will work in his favour, but no links to the Nou Camp could go against him.

Juan Carlos Unzue

Juan Carlos Unzue is in with a real chance of being handed the big job. In fact, he's now the favourite. Unzue may not be a big name but he's certainly familiar to everyone at Barcelona. He has much going for him, especially as he so well fits the club's coaching profile.--Guillem Balague for Sky Sports

The 49-year-old was promoted to assistant at the Nou Camp in 2014. Barcelona is renowned for sticking to its footballing values. As a former player, goalkeeping coach and now number two, Juan Carlos Unzue is in the mix to claim the top job.

The Outsiders

Mauricio Pochettino

The Spurs boss has good man management skills, utilises a high pressing system, and has earned a reputation as an excellent young coach. Those are reasons for Mauricio Pochettino's name being in the frame. On the other hand, his long association with local rivals Espanyol is a drawback.

Eusebio Sacristan

Eusebio Sacristan possesses a favourable reputation with the Catalans, having played over 200 games in the Blaugrana shirt, in addition to once being involved in the coaching set-up and managing the B team. But the Spaniard now looks unlikely to fill the vacancy after ruling himself out.

Massimiliano Allegri

If Barcelona opt for a big name, someone who is proven at the highest level, Massimiliano Allegri will be near the top of that list. The Juventus boss has maintained his side's dominance over Italian football and is highly decorated having previously won three Serie A titles as a manager.

Other Mentions

Two Frenchmen at opposing ends of their managerial careers have a minuscule chance to succeed Enrique. After leading Paris Saint-Germain to 11 trophies, Laurent Blanc was dismissed and remains out of work. Due to his attacking philosophy, Arsene Wenger has often been touted as a potential Catalan boss. Although, at 67, it's an unlikely scenario. Also, a duo with Borussia Dortmund connections, Thomas Tuchel and Liverpool's Jürgen Klopp , may fit Barça's blueprint. Could either be tempted away from their current distinguished roles?
Pep Guardiola is a modern era great. His allegiance to Barcelona helped pave his road to managerial glory. If the Spanish giants wish to make a similar appointment, none are better suited than Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez , two Blaugrana legends who understand the club's intricacies from top to bottom. It is a gamble that could prove worth taking, as Barça not only seek success on the pitch but aspires for continuity among its greatest talents. The Enrique link is about to disband - Nou Camp decision-makers must ensure their chain stays intact.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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