Mauricio Pochettino favourite to replace Setién at Barcelona
He's magic, you know
Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as the favourite to replace Quique Setién as Barcelona manager this summer, according to the Evening Standard.
At the time of writing, Setién has not yet been sacked but the writing has been on the wall for months with the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich the final nail in the coffin.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu will chair a meeting on Monday morning and Setién's future (read: departure) will be top of the agenda.
Barça tried to hire former player and club legend Xavi Hernandez back in January, but he turned the job down and the club had to turn to Setién.
Another approach for Xavi, currently coaching Al-Sadd in Qatar, has been mooted but he is understood to be reluctant to work under the current board, whose mismanagement has led to the current crisis.
With presidential elections not taking place for another 12 months, Xavi returning to the Camp Nou seems unlikely.
Pochettino, meanwhile, is without a job after being sacked by Tottenham Hotspur last autumn.
The Argentine has previously said he would never manage Barça due to his connection to their city rivals Espanyol, where he enjoyed two spells as a player and three years as a manager.
But in a recent interview with Spanish daily newspaper El Pais, his stance appeared to have changed.
"I did not want to disrespect Barcelona," he said. "You can say things differently.
"Espanyol made a name for me, but I'm not arrogant and I didn't like making a statement like that. Maybe now I wouldn't because in life you never know what will happen."
During his five and a half years in charge of Tottenham, Pochettino transformed the club. He stripped a dysfunctional team apart, disposed of players who did not subscribe to his ideas and ethics, and turned them into Champions League regulars, reaching the final in 2019.
Whether he can undertake the huge rebuild necessary at Barcelona remains to be seen, but hiring him would be the first logical decision the Barça board have made in about five years.