Quique Setien is ‘very close’ to being appointed as the new Barcelona boss, according to multiple reports in the Spanish press.
Ernesto Valverde has yet to be officially removed from his position – despite various reports saying that the club told him he would be dismissed earlier on Monday.
Reports say that Valverde has already cleared his belongings out of the club and will now be allowed to say his goodbyes to the staff and players.
It would be the first time that Barcelona have sacked a Coach in the middle of a season since Louis Van Gaal in 2003 – when they were 20 points behind Real Sociedad, and eventually finished sixth.
It had been said earlier on Monday that Valverde’s position in the Camp Nou hotseat is in serious danger after a lengthy meeting on Sunday night between those in charge of the club.
Josep Maria Bartomeu – the club’s president – is now due to meet Valverde today in another crunch meeting after talking with the club’s CEO Oscar Grau, transfer chief Eric Abidal, his assistant Ramon Planes and Javier Bordas.
The meeting is said to have began at 9pm on Sunday evening after Abidal and Grau returned from Qatar, where they unsuccessfully tried to persuade Xavi Hernandez to accept the managerial position.
However, Xavi said he had no intention of joining the club in the middle of the season but did leave the door open for a summer move, leading the club to reassess their options.
Setien was appointed at Betis at the start of the 2017-18 campaign, leading them to a 6th-place finish – their highest since 2005, and a return to European football for the first time in five seasons.
However, the Andalusian club suffered a sharp downturn in form in the final six months of his stint and only secured a top-half finish on the final day of the campaign last time out, and he was replaced by Rubi.
Setien led Betis to victories at Barcelona, Real Madrid and Milan last season, alongside defeating Atletico Madrid.
Mauricio Pochettino – who worked with Ramon Planes at both Espanyol and Tottenham – is said to be in the frame, while former Real Betis Coach Quique Setien and current Estudiantes de La Plata boss Gabriel Milito – a former Barcelona defender – also in the frame.