As the fallout at Barcelona continues, two Premier League managers have been linked with a move to the Nou Camp.
Manuel Pellegrini and Ronald Koeman’s names have both been mentioned in the press on Friday, as Luis Enrique’s reign at Barca continues to be questioned after a reported row with star player Lionel Messi.
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Enrique, 44, only arrived as Barca’s new coach this summer but is already under plenty of scrutiny despite the Catalan club in second place in La Liga (just one point behind Real Madrid) and into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. With technical director Andoni Zubizarreta fired by Barca last week, current club president Josep Bartomeu calling an early presidential election and the club still reeling from being banned from making any transfers until January 2016, all is not well at the Nou Camp.
According to several reports, Barcelona want City’s manager Pellegrini, director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano. Begiristain and Soriano were previously at Barcelona but when asked on Friday by reporters, Pellegrini confirmed that he is happy at the Etihad Stadium and has no intention of becoming Barcelona’s new boss.
All of this speculation will certainly add some spice to the two upcoming meetings between City and Barcelona in the last 16 of the UCL. As for Koeman, a former player and assistant coach at Barca, he had the following to say about rumors linking him with a possible move back to Catalonia.
“If teams like Barcelona lose games there are always a lot of critics, rumors and speculation. I know, because my whole life I am linked to Barcelona. But it is not a time to talk about that because I do not think it is respectful to Southampton. It is not respectful to the people of Barcelona.”
Asked if he could ever see himself coaching Barcelona, Koeman said he could and reflected on his time at the Nou Camp as a coach in the past, but reiterated that he’s very happy at Saints.
“Yes, but I had that some times and it never happened,” Koeman said, “Now, I am very happy to be here in Southampton and that is the most important [thing].”