Hansi Flick most recently managed the Germany national team [1296x729]
Hansi Flick most recently managed the Germany national team [1296x729] (Credit: Jürgen Fromme - firo sportphoto/Getty Images)

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Hansi Flick has emerged as one of the leading candidates to take over Barcelona if Xavi is sacked but the Catalan club will not make a final decision until president Joan Laporta joins the coach at a meeting scheduled for next week, sources told ESPN.

Sources said that Barça second-team manager Rafael Márquez and Thomas Tuchel, who left Bayern Munich at the end of the season, are also on the short-list. Roberto De Zerbi also has been linked following his departure from Brighton.

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ESPN revealed Wednesday that Barça sporting director Deco and Bojan, the club's football coordinator, went to London for a work trip.

Media reports in Spain claim that Deco and Bojan went to the English capital to meet with Flick and his agent.

ESPN has not been able to confirm a face-to-face meeting took place but several sources said that there have been contacts with Flick and that the former Bayern coach is one of the "most serious options" to replace Xavi in the event that he leaves.

Meanwhile, other sources told ESPN that Xavi and his staff are yet to receive any official information about his future but have suspected for a while that they are living out their last days at the Barça.

Sources close to Xavi have neither confirmed nor denied whether the coach will ask to be paid for the remaining year of his contract and insisted that the Catalan coach wants to continue in the role, with nobody yet telling them that the club's intention is different.

However, if Xavi asks to be paid for that year, both parties would have to negotiate a financial settlement and that could complicate Laporta's decision even more since, as ESPN has reported, the club's delicate financial situation was one of the reasons why they decided to keep Xavi in the position.

One way or another, Laporta has long regarded Flick as a potential Barcelona coach.

In May 2021, ESPN revealed that Barça contacted Flick's camp to find out his availability but the then Bayern coach had already committed to the Germany national team and the club therefore decided to keep Ronald Koeman.

Now Flick is without a team and Laporta could take advantage of his excellent relationship with his agent, Pini Zahavi, who also represents Robert Lewandowski, to finally fulfill his desire to have a German coach on the Barça bench.

Tuchel, who is also without a job, is another alternative while Márquez is still waiting for news about his future.

Márquez ends his contract with Barcelona Athletic on June 30 and, as ESPN reported, until a few days ago no one had officially offered him a renewal in the role.