Luis Enrique has announced that he would step down as the head coach of Barcelona at the end of the season. The Barcelona boss has faced intense criticism in recent weeks especially after the 4-0 loss to PSG and speculations have been rife about his future, but the 46-year-old confirmed that he would not be at the helm next season and cited that he needed a rest as the reason behind his move.
Barcelona needs a manager who could possibly match Luis Enrique's achievements and help the club to dominate Europe again. Here are five replacements the Catalan club could look at:
1) Jorge Sampaoli
The Sevilla boss is the favourite to take over the job from Enrique having being reportedly being monitored by Barcelona ever since 'Lucho' refused to commit his future to the club. Sampaoli has only taken over at Sevilla this season but Barcelona have set their eyes upon him and are reportedly desperate to hire him.
Sampaoli has a glittering CV having won two Copa America titles with Chile, while he has also inspired Sevilla to challenge for the La Liga title. Should Barcelona manage to persuade him to take over, it would be fun to see him manage Lionel Messi and Neymar who are reportedly eager to play under him.
2) Ronald Koeman
The Everton boss has also emerged as a contender to replace Luis Enrique and could be the perfect candidate for the job having been a player for Barcelona. The Dutchman had done a great job at Southampton and has also revived Everton as they sit in the top half of the table. The Toffees would be desperate to keep hold of him but the temptation of managing Barcelona could lure Koeman to the Camp Nou.
3) Mauricio Pochettino
The Tottenham boss has been on Barca's radar for quite some time now and despite him insisting that he wants to stay at White Hart Lane, the chance to manage Lionel Messi and co. could take him to Barcelona. Pochettino plays an attacking brand of football and also keeps the defense compact and this is exactly the philosophy Barcelona wish to play. If he does opt to go to Barca, it would be interesting to see world class players play under him.
4) Arsene Wenger
The Arsenal manager could be the surprise candidate for the job. While the others are seen as long-term managers at their respective clubs, Wenger is in the final year of his contract and is extremely likely to leave Arsenal having fallen behind in the title race yet again. While Barcelona are likely to look at a young manager, Wenger has a proven track record and could be a good short-term solution. Barca could appoint him for 2-3 years and then look to appoint Pochettino, who by then would have completed his 'Tottenham project'.
5) Juan Carlos Unzue
The current assistant manager of Barcelona can follow the footsteps of Pep Guardiola having been assistant to Enrique throughout his time at the club. It has been reported that Enrique wants his assistant to take over from him as he feels that he plays a brand of football similar to Enrique's. While Barcelona are likely to hire an experienced manager, Unzue's appointment cannot be totally ruled out given the history of the club.