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Valverde set for Barcelona sack

Ernesto Valverde has reportedly been informed that he will not be continuing as Barcelona head coach, with Quique Setien the favourite to take over.

Barcelona’s defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup appears to have been the final straw for Valverde, who has won La Liga in both his seasons at the club.

It would be the first time Barca have sacked a head coach in the middle of a season since Louis van Gaal in 2003, and Valverde would leave the club top of the table, albeit on goal difference from Real Madrid.

Valverde has failed to completely win over supporters since being appointed in the summer of 2017, with his reputation damaged by crushing Champions League second-leg defeats to Roma (in the quarter-finals in 2017/18) and Liverpool (in the semi-finals in 2018/19).

The former Athletic Bilbao boss took training on Monday and, according to reports in Spain, then spoke with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to discuss his future and was later told he would not be continuing.

Multiple reports suggest Barcelona will announce Valverde’s departure later on Monday evening.

It appears that former Real Betis head coach Setien is the favourite to replace Valverde. He led Betis to a sixth-place finish in 2017/18 but was sacked at the end of last season.

Barca legend Xavi had reportedly been offered the job, but said he would only take over in the summer.

Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has also been linked with the role, even though he has previously said he would not take it due to his ties to Espanyol.

“I am never going to be manager of Barcelona or Arsenal because I am so identified with Tottenham and Espanyol,” he said in 2018.

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