Man Utd ‘make contact’ with ex-Barcelona boss as INEOS eye surprise Ten Hag replacement | Football | Sport


Manchester United have reached out to former Barcelona boss Xavi to gauge his interest in replacing Erik ten Hag next season, according to reports. The Red Devils have been widely tipped to part ways with their current manager ahead of the new campaign, with a host of names having been linked with the top job at Old Trafford.

Thomas Tuchel is widely believed to be among the favourites to step in at United if Ten Hag is relieved of his duties. They have also been linked with moves for Gareth Southgate and Mauricio Pochettino, while Kieran McKenna was said to have been a contender before he signed a new contract at Ipswich.

Xavi has since emerged as a shock candidate for the role of United manager following his exit from Barcelona at the end of the season. According to Spanish outlet AS, the Red Devils have ‘knocked on the door’ of Xavi in recent weeks but reportedly expressed their interest in a ‘very informal’ way.

The Spaniard is currently out of work after being dismissed by Barcelona at the end of a long-running saga over his future. He had initially confirmed that he was leaving in January before Barcelona convinced him to stay on in April, only for the Catalan giants to go back on their word after a disappointing end to the campaign.

Xavi is also said to have received approaches from AC Milan and the South Korea national team as he mulls over the next step in his career. However, the report adds that his preference would be to take a break from management before looking for another role in 2025.

The 44-year-old won 89 of his 142 games in charge of Barcelona, guiding them to the La Liga and Spanish Super Cup titles at the end of the 2022/23 season. In his final campaign at the club, Barcelona could only manage second place in the league behind Real Madrid while they were also knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals.

Prior to his dismissal earlier this month, Xavi gave a damning assessment of the situation at Barcelona as he said: “To the new manager, I tell you: you will suffer. This is a very complicated place to be. This is a difficult job and you have to be patient. I have the feeling that everything I have done in these two-and-a-half years has caused an earthquake.”

It remains to be seen if United will continue to pursue their reported interest in Xavi over the coming weeks, with INEOS still yet to make a firm decision on Ten Hag’s future. The Dutchman is contracted until the end of next season and it would reportedly cost United around £10million in compensation to part ways with him ahead of schedule.

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