Barcelona president Joan Laporta plans to call Pep Guardiola on Sunday to try and convince him to return to the club, according to reports. Laporta held talks with Barca manager Ronald Koeman earlier this week but failed to give him assurances over his future and is now hatching a plot to lure Guardiola back to his former club.
Speculation over Koeman’s future has been rife in recent weeks following a disappointing season for Barcelona.
The Dutchman could only secure a third-place finish for the Catalan giants in La Liga amid a backdrop of issues both on and off the pitch.
Koeman and his agent Rob Jansen met with Barcelona president Laporta, vice-president Rafael Yuste and director of football Mateu Alemany at Camp Nou on Tuesday evening to discuss the 2020/21 season and plans for the future.
The meeting lasted just 30 minutes and ended without the Barca hierarchy giving Koeman a firm answer on whether he would be the manager next season.
“In my opinion, Koeman will stay at Barca,” Jansen told Cadena SER on Wednesday, but that eventuality now looks in doubt, despite the former Southampton and Everton boss having another year on his contract.
JUST IN: Mauricio Pochettino ‘wants to fulfil Real Madrid dream’ in Spurs blow
According to AS, Laporta, who replaced Josep Maria Bartomeu as president in March, has not given up on trying to convince Guardiola to return as manager.
The report states that Laporta is desperate to bring Guardiola back, that he will call him on Sunday – a day after Manchester City’s Champions League final against Chelsea – to make his proposal.
Guardiola holds legendary status at Barcelona thanks to an 11-year stint as a midfielder and a hugely successful spell as manager between 2008 and 2012.
The 50-year-old won three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Champions League trophies during the high-point of Barca’s recent history.
Since then he has gone on to have success with Bayern Munich and Man City, where he recently extended his contract until the summer of 2023.
AS reports that many at Barcelona believe Laporta to be on a ‘fool’s errand’ and attempting to complete an impossible task.
Liverpool receive transfer boost over Wijnaldum replacement
Chelsea transfer chief Marina Granovskaia has £13m transfer option
Man Utd star Lingard leaves transfer door open in West Ham farewell
If the Barca president can’t agree a deal with Guardiola for this summer, then he intends to reach an agreement for the end of the 2021/22 season, when Koeman’s current contract expires.
With or without Guardiola, Barcelona are readying themselves for a busy off-season, with uncertainty over Koeman’s position combined with lots of business in the transfer window.
Philippe Coutinho, Miralem Pjanic, Martin Braithwaite, Junior Firpo, Neto and Samuel Umtiti have all reportedly been made available for transfer.
Lionel Messi is out of contract at the end of June and is yet to agree to a new deal with the club he has represented since 2004.
Meanwhile, Gini Wijnaldum has agreed to a three-year contract with the club, while Man City pair Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia and Lyon’s Memphis Depay are all expected to arrive.