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River Plate

Barcelona: "Gallardo will replace Valverde by December"

Title-winning player and coach Claudio Borghi said he has been told by reliable sources that the River manager is being lined up for the Barcelona job.

Barcelona: "Gallardo will replace Valverde by December"

River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo will replace Ernesto Valverde as coach of Barcelona as early as next month, according to World Cup-winning former Argentina international Claudio Borghi.

Gallardo’s stock has never been higher after the 43-year-old led River to a second successive Copa Libertadores final and his sustained success with Los Millonarios, plus the obvious advantage of being Argentinean, has apparently led Barcelona to consider a move for the tactician after the showpiece game against Flamengo later this month.

According to Borghi, who now works as a commentator, Gallardo has already been lined up by the Camp Nou board and will be given permission to leave if he asks River chairman Rodolfo D’Onofrio.

“Gallardo will be installed as Barcelona coach in December,” Borghi said. At the moment he is one of the best coaches in the world. D’Onofrio has already said that Gallardo will only leave if he decides to quit his post, but this has come to me from a direct source.”

Valverde under the microscope at Barcelona

Gallardo joined River as manager in 2014 and has won a raft of titles with the club he represented as a player. Valverde meanwhile has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks with Barcelona misfiring badly, Leo Messi lacking his standard form and Antoine Griezmann looking utterly lost without a red-and-white shirt on his back.

However, it should also be noted that Barcelona rarely change coaches in mid-season – the last was Louis van Gaal in January 2003 – and Valverde’s side currently sit on top of LaLiga and Champions League Group F, ahead of Dortmund and Inter Milan.

Gallardo may well feel that he has taken River as far as he can if a second Copa Libertadores is delivered to El Monumental on 23 November and his CV would be of interest to any club. River, though, have denied the rumours.