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Henry listed but Pochettino favourite to replace Setien at Barcelona

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Thierry Henry

Barcelona reportedly eyeing Montreal Impact’s Thierry Henry as candidate for next coach. After Barcelona’s embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Friday, the club are expected to move on from manager Quique Setien. And according to Barcelona-based outlet Sport, the club have included Montreal Impact manager and former Barcelona star Thierry Henry among a list of potential candidates.
There is little need for Impact fans to be worried at this stage, however. While the report lists Henry, current Netherlands national team manager Ronald Koeman and former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri as being among those on Barcelona’s shortlist, it also makes clear former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is the favored target.
Even so, it’s a flattering link for Henry, who despite being hired at the Impact last November has been at the helm of the club for just nine matches across all competitions heading into next week’s season restart. And Montreal marks only Henry’s second managerial job, after a brief, stint in charge of Monaco that began in the fall of 2018.
After an eight-year run at Arsenal, Henry finished his European playing career with Barcelona, where he scored 35 La Liga goals and added 15 assists over three seasons before joining the New York Red Bulls in 2010. He won two La Liga titles with Barca, as well as the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League.
He departed the club following the 2009-2010 season to join the New York Red Bulls.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has called an emergency board meeting for Monday to discuss urgent changes after the club’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Friday night.
Bartomeu said after the Bayern defeat that ‘decisions will be made’ in the coming days and Standard Sport understands Setien’s exit is imminent after the club’s first trophy-less season since 2007-08.
The favourite candidate for the manager’s job, Pochettino has claimed in the past that he could not coach Barca because of his links to their city rivals Espanyol, and even once said he would rather work on his farm in Argentina than train the Blaugrana.
However, the former Spurs boss is a friend of Ramon Planes, who works as an assistant to sporting director Eric Abidal at Barca, and also gets on well with Bartomeu.
In a recent interview with El Pais, his stance on Barca also seemed to soften. “I did not want to disrespect Barcelona,” he said. “You can say things differently. Espanyol made a name for me, but I’m not arrogant and I didn’t like making a statement like that. Maybe now I wouldn’t because in life you never know what will happen.”
Barca’s players are thought to be keen to work with club legend Xavi, but the former midfielder has signed a new deal with Al-Sadd and has hinted that he would be unwilling to take over with the club in its current condition.
Xavi is the preferred choice of presidential candidate Victor Font and could also be appointed if former club chief Joan Laporta wins next year’s elections.
Bartomeu and his board will also discuss the possibility of bringing forward the elections in Monday’s meeting, with January and March two possible dates. Whether the vote takes place during the season or next summer, the next coach will be aware that he will be likely to be replaced straight after a new president is elected and with very little in the way of funds available for strengthening after Covid-19 and the squad in need of major changes, the position is much less attractive than it would be usually.

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