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Barcelona handed boost as managerial target not committing to new contract yet

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De Zerbi Barcelona
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Barcelona’s pursuit for a new manager to replace the outgoing Xavi has taken them to places already. Mostly Germany, but also other parts of Europe.

Hansi Flick seems to be the top candidate to take over the job, with Barcelona reportedly in contact with him through his agent Pini Zahavi. The German has also inquired about the club, squad, and the city already.

The likes of Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel have also been linked with a move to Barcelona, but it seems the club is not particularly convinced by either of them.

Meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Roberto De Zerbi is among the top of the shortlist, as well, but Barça will have to fend off interest from a lot of other elite teams for his signature, including Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

De Zerbi says no to an extension

Speaking ahead of their game against Liverpool tomorrow, Roberto De Zerbi was asked whether he would sign a contract extension with Brighton.

“A new deal at Brighton? At the moment, no,” he said, as quoted by Fabrizio Romano.

“I need to speak to Tony Bloom about the plan for the club in order to decide my future. I want to know what the project is. I want to keep my ambition,” De Zerbi added sternly.

The Italian was initially brought in to replace the departing Graham Potter in 2022 and put pen to paper on a deal until 2026.

De Zerbi has done exceedingly well at Brighton. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Should Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern, or any other club want to swoop De Zerbi away from the coastal English outfit, they will need to trigger his release clause that stands somewhere between €13-20 million according to different sources.

The right man for Barcelona?

As far as philosophy goes, De Zerbi has tried to uphold the style and system that Barcelona would want to see in their team, but has not done it at the highest level with any team yet.

While his teams – Sassuolo, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Brighton have all done well, the lack of experience, coupled with his unwavering faith in only one style of football could come to bite Barcelona in the long-term.

That said, neither De Zerbi, nor Flick are Barcelona’s priority for the job. They are still hoping that team’s performances in the Champions League would convince Xavi to continue beyond the summer.

Club president Joan Laporta is also set to host a meeting with Xavi following El Clasico later in April in an attempt to persuade him.

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