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Barcelona ‘draw up shortlist of Xavi successors’ with Mikel Arteta, Roberto De Zerbi and two other Premier League bosses in the frame

Barcelona have drawn up a star-studded shortlist of candidates to succeed coach Xavi Hernandez, with Mikel Arteta, Xabi Alonso and Roberto De Zerbi reportedly among the contenders.

Xavi announced on January 27 that he will leave the club at the end of the season, having taken over in November 2021.

Attention quickly turns to its replacement Mundo Deportivo mentioning a number of names in the box.

Arsenal boss Arteta, 41, came through Barcelona’s youth academy and his attacking style is said to be attractive to the Nou Camp club.

But as Mundo says: Arteta is under contract with Arsenal until 2025, has had great success there and last month described the links to Barcelona as ‘completely fake news’.

Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona have drawn up a shortlist of candidates to replace Xavi as coach this summer

Xavi Hernandez announced last month that he will leave Barcelona in the summer

Xavi Hernandez announced last month that he will leave Barcelona in the summer

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta moved quickly to put an end to speculation linking him with the job

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta moved quickly to put an end to speculation linking him with the job

Responding to reports, Arteta said: ‘I don’t know where it came from and it’s completely untrue. I’m really angry about it. I could not believe it. It has no source.

“It doesn’t mean anything and I think we have to be very careful when you talk about personal things.”

Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique, 53, has been touted for a possible return after coaching the club between 2014 and 2017.

This successful spell included Barcelona’s 2015 Champions League success – part of a Treble – and he too favors the classic Barca style of play.

But Mundo qualifies this by pointing out that he also has a contract with his current club until next year and whether Barcelona’s tight financial situation could be unpleasant.

Brighton boss De Zerbi has impressed in the Premier League, they say, but has no experience of managing a big club with top-level players.

They say De Zerbi’s passing style would go down well, as will the endorsements former Barcelona favorite Pep Guardiola has given him in the past.

Another interesting name mentioned is Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso, the favorite to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

The Spaniard has excelled in Germany, with Leverkusen surprising Bundesliga title contenders to battle Bayern Munich at the top.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has won admirers for his style but has not managed a major club

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has won admirers for his style but has not managed a major club

PSG coach Luis Enrique has been mentioned for a return to Barcelona

Bayer Leverkusen's Xabi Alonso is the front runner for the Liverpool job

PSG coach Luis Enrique (left) has been named for a return to Barcelona, ​​while Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso (right) is frontrunner for the Liverpool job

Mundo has been impressed by his ‘intense, dynamic and vertical play’ there, but admits links with Real Madrid, where he spent five years, and that Liverpool’s interest would undermine Barca.

Less favored candidates include Hansi Flick, who has been unemployed since becoming Germany’s first national coach to be sacked in September last year.

Barcelona are said to be focusing more on his impressive trophy-collecting achievements with Bayern than his stint with the national team, with president Joan Laporta ‘drawn to the German school of technicians’.

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has been mentioned as another candidate, following the Spaniard’s impressive work to get his side into the top four of the Premier League.

Emery was, of course, the PSG coach when they threw away a 4-0 first-leg lead to lose 6-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 in 2017.

Hansi Flick has been named by Mundo Deportivo as a candidate for the Barcelona post

Hansi Flick has been named by Mundo Deportivo as a candidate for the Barcelona post

Aston Villa's Unai Emery is mentioned, but may be difficult to track down after success there

Aston Villa’s Unai Emery is mentioned, but can be difficult to track down after success there

Outgoing Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is described as a 'special case' by Mundo Deportivo

Outgoing Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is described as a ‘special case’ by Mundo Deportivo

The fact that he has achieved success in the Europa League works in his favor but, as Mundo acknowledges, there is a good relationship with sporting director Monchi that makes it difficult to leave Villa Park.

Intriguingly, they call Klopp a ‘special case’. It is understood that the German will leave Liverpool at the end of the season, but also that he is likely to take a sabbatical after admitting that he has no energy left.

The report notes that Laporta admires Klopp for the competitive nature and intensity of his sides.

Other less likely candidate names include Sergio Conceicao of Porto, Imanol Alguacil of Real Sociedad and Michel of high-flying Girona.

There is the caveat that Deco, Barcelona’s sporting director, has insisted no contact has been made with a coach yet.

The reason for this is that Barcelona does not yet know what salary or playing budget they can offer Xavi’s successor within the restrictions of Financial Fair Play.