Ernesto Valverde arrived to work three hours ahead of schedule yesterday for what could be his last day in the job as Barcelona coach.
Despite being knocked back by Xavi, so public was the pursuit of the former Barcelona captain to be their new boss that Valverde’s position looks untenable.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and directors Javier Bordas, Oscar Grau and Eric Abidal were locked in talks late into the night on Sunday and Valverde’s presence at the club’s training ground so early on Monday has led to speculation that the coach will be fired today.
Valverde was later pictured driving out of the club’s training ground in a blue BMW on Monday afternoon.
One scenario apparently ruled out is that Valverde, who took training as usual on Monday morning, will walk. The coach feels he has been treated terribly and that has been backed up by other voices in and around the club.
“Valverde is still in a position where he could win all the trophies this season,” former Barcelona boss and current Spain manager Luis Enrique said.
Pep Guardiola added, “I feel bad for him; he does not deserve this.”
And Andres Iniesta told Spanish radio Onda Cero, “The way the club have gone about things is a little bit ugly.”
But Valverde will be due the rest of this season’s money and all of his final year if he is fired before May so despite the treatment it looks unlikely he will walk.
Barcelona president Bartomeu is a big fan of Mauricio Pochettino and the former Tottenham coach is available but he has said on numerous occasions that he would not coach Barcelona because of his association with their city rivals Espanyol.
With Xavi and Ronald Koeman not willing to take over until the end of the season, Barcelona are looking at other options, including Barcelona B coach Javier Garcia Pimienta and former Betis coach Quique Setien.
Barcelona directors will meet again at 2pm on Monday when a definitive decision will be taken.
The suggestion that Valverde could go featured on the front of Spanish newspaper Sport on Monday morning.