Undecided Xavi to meet with Barcelona over future – sources

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández still has not made a decision on his future and will meet with the club’s hierarchy in the coming days as they push for him to remain in charge next season, multiple sources have told ESPN.

Xavi, 44, announced in January that he plans to step down at the end of the season, but there has been a growing clamour in recent weeks for him to reverse his decision.

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President Joan Laporta, vice president Rafa Yuste and sporting director Deco have all voiced their desire for Xavi to remain at the helm.

Sources told ESPN that the club’s stance has not changed despite what is looking like a trophy-less season after defeats to Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid left Barça out of Europe and 11 points off the pace in LaLiga with just six games to play.

Sources also told ESPN that there is a loose plan for a meeting either this week or next, with Xavi’s camp aware that the club need to know his intentions so they can prepare for next season.

Barça are unable to invest a lot of money in a new coach due to the club’s delicate financial situation, and the board, despite this week’s disappointing results, value the work done by Xavi since he took over in 2021.

Sources told ESPN that Xavi could reconsider his decision if he receives certain guarantees with regard to squad planning and signings ahead of the 2024-25 season.

Xavi has always insisted that his decision to step down is the right one, but he will listen to what the club has to say.

Xavi led Barça to their first LaLiga title since 2019 last season and has also brought through a crop of young talent from the academy, including teenagers Pau Cubarsí and Lamine Yamal.

A string of poor results in December and January, though, culminating with a 5-3 loss at home to Villarreal, led to Xavi’s announcement that he would step down.

After making his decision public, Barça embarked on a 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions, climbing from fourth to second in LaLiga and reaching their first Champions League quarterfinal since 2020.

However, their season was effectively ended this week as they were eliminated from Europe by PSG before losing Sunday’s Clásico 3-2, which essentially ended their slim title hopes.

Barça remain in excess of their LaLiga-imposed annual spending limit and, as previously revealed by ESPN, could be forced to transfer key players such as Ronald Araújo this summer in order to strengthen elsewhere.

Those money problems have also hindered the search for a replacement for Xavi.

ESPN reported last week that former Mexico international Rafael Márquez, now in charge of Barca’s B team, has emerged as a possible candidate for the dugout because he fits within the club’s financial capabilities.

Márquez would be a low-cost hire, he played for the club and has the B team competing for promotion to the second tier of Spanish football while working with players from the academy.

Meanwhile, Hansi Flick and Thomas Tuchel have not been ruled out, either, but it would be more complicated to convince them to take the job due to the club’s economic limitations.