New Barcelona boss Quique Setien was actually club’s “fourth choice, at best” for the job, according to Spanish football expert Graham Hunter. The former Real Betis manager was appointed by the defending league champion on Monday after Ernesto Valverde was sacked.
Quique Setien – New Barcelona Manager
Although Setien has signed a deal of a two-and-a-half-year deal at the Nou Camp, Hunter claims that former midfielder Xavi Hernandez, Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino were all approached before the club turned to the 61-year-old.
“Quique Setien is an attractive couch with a [Johan] Cruyff mentality, but he is the fourth choice, at best. It has been a risible Keystone Cops affair from start to finish.” Setien himself admitted that he was surprised to be offered the job during his first news conference, stating that his appointment was beyond his “wildest dreams.”
Setien is set to take charge of the La Liga leaders for the first time when they host Granada on Sunday.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk podcast, Hunter said: “They went out to Qatar to try and persuade Xavi, who they should have known wouldn’t come, couldn’t come.
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi was considered to be the favourite for the job after he confirmed that he met with club officials over the weekend.
And Hunter claimed that the 39-year-old, who currently manages Qatari side Al Sadd, could still return to the Camp Nou in the future. “Xavi is very aligned to a presidential candidate who wants to take over the club when there are elections in 2021,” he added. “His name is Victor Font. “They work together; they are a team. It is anticipated that is when Xavi will come back.
“They tried to persuade Ronald Koeman, who had already told them previously he wouldn’t join them. He thinks he’ll coach the Netherlands to the European Championship and victory this summer.”- Hunter said.
“They sussed out what Mauricio Pochettino had previously said, that he’d rather go back and work on his farm in Argentina than go and coach Barcelona, they tried to persuade him.”- Hunter revealed.
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