BARCELONA

Kluivert and Blanc emerge as possible Setien replacements

Former Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert, now head of the academy, and France World Cup-winner Laurent Blanc are in the frame for the Camp Nou job.

Kluivert and Blanc emerge as possible Setien replacements

Former Barcelona and Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert and Laurent Blanc, who has managed Bordeaux, France and PSG, have emerged as the front runners to take over the reins at Camp Nou if Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu decides to pull the plug on Quique Setién’s short tenure. The current manager has come under fire after Barcelona were beaten to the Liga title by Real Madrid amid rumours of a dressing room rift with club captain Leo Messi.

Kluivert, who now heads up the Barcelona academy, played for the club between 1998 and 2004 and is an outsider for the role given his relative lack of managerial experience. However, Barcelona have been eager to lure Xavi back to the club and could turn to another former player even if on a short-term basis.

Blanc to offer himself for a season while Barça wait on Xavi

Meanwhile, the name of Blanc continues to surround Setién’s troubled reign. The former Betis boss was brought in to deliver football more reminiscent of the Dream Team era of Johan Cruyff after the Barça board grew tired of the austere style of Ernesto Valverde but the experiment has not been overly successful. Setién has met with Bartomeu on more than occasion as the Liga title slipped from Barça’s grasp and although has said he expects to remain in charge next season it may take a Champions League victory to persuade his employers.

Blanc would represent a safe pair of hands if not the maverick stylings of Cruyff and the World Cup winner has plenty of experience with Les Bleus, PSG and Bordeaux on his curriculum. According to reports in Catalonia, Blanc’s agent Jorge Mendes has suggested to the Camp Nou board that his client could act as a bridge between Setién and Xavi, serving just one season before the potential return of the club’s record appearance maker as coach in 2021.