Troubled Spanish top side FC Barcelona have appointed Sergi Barjuan their caretaker coach, amid a report they have reached an agreement with former midfield star Xavi Hernandez to take charge.
The 49-year-old Barjuan is a former FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid defender who is in charge of Barca’s reserve team.
He was to conduct the first training session later Thursday.
“FC Barcelona hereby announce that Sergi Barjuan, the current coach of Barça B, shall be taking provisional charge of the technical management of the senior squad,” a club statement said.
“His interim position as first team head coach shall end as soon as the club has hired a full-time head coach to replace the dismissed Ronald Koeman.”
The club said Barjuan would attend a news conference on Friday ahead of Saturday’s game against Alaves, and that club president Joan Laporta would also be present.
Barca parted ways with Koeman in the wake of Wednesday’s 1-0 league defeat against Rayo Vallecano, their fourth loss in the last six games.
Sport, a daily sports newspaper in Spain, has meanwhile reported that Barca have an agreement with club legend Xavi to take over.
The 41-year-old Xavi came through Barca’s famed academy and played for the first team from 1998 to 2015.
He won 25 titles with them, including four UEFA Champions Leagues and eight Spanish league titles.
Xavi moved on to Qatari club Al Sadd where he ended his career in 2019 and is now the coach on a contract until 2023.
However, he has a 1-million euros (1.16 million dollars) release clause and has said in the past he would like to coach Barca one day.
Sport said talks with Al Sadd were still needed, although the report suggested a final decision could come before the end of the day.
FC Barcelona and Xavi have not commented on the issue.
However, whoever gets the coaching job faces a daunting task at the struggling giants who have reported debts of more than 1 billion euros.
They have had to let the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann go in the off-season.
A new talent in Pedri has arrived, but Barca sit only ninth in LaLiga and could face a group stage elimination in the UEFA Champions League.