Barcelona ‘convinced’ they can persuade Jurgen Klopp to take over this summer

The German had been intending to take a sabbatical after leaving Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp is Barcelona’s number one choice to replace Xavi and the Catalan club are ‘convinced’ they can persuade him to take over this summer, according to reports in Spain.

On Friday, the German coach stunned the football world when he announced he would be stepping down from his role in the Liverpool hotseat at the end of the current campaign.

Klopp said he felt he no longer had the energy required to manage Liverpool to the best of his abilities and would take at least a year-long break – if he returned to management at all.

But that does not appear to have deterred Barcelona, who are in need of a new head coach after Xavi announced he would not continue in the role beyond this season.

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, Barca president Joan Laporta has already made Klopp his top target to succeed Xavi and the club feel they can entice the 56-year-old into snubbing a sabbatical.

The German has long been tempted by the possibility of coaching in Spain and Barca are ‘convinced’ that, when the time comes, they will be able to persuade him to take over the reins immediately.

Barcelona’s hierarchy would be prepared to give Klopp free rein over how he shapes the team – though that is where a potential hurdle could arise.

Klopp overcame Barca in a famous Champions League tie in 2019 (Picture: Getty)

The Catalan club are struggling to comply with financial fair play rules and will likely need a massive clear-out in the summer in order to raise funds, meaning they cannot guarantee Klopp the transfer war chest he may feel is needed.

Interestingly, Klopp already has ties to Spain and owns a house and farm in Mallorca where he is likely to spend the summer.

The former Borussia Dortmund coach is not the only option Barcelona will consider and they could take a risk on a less established manager if Klopp is adamant he wants to take a year-long sabbatical.

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The likes of Girona boss Michel, Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi and even Barcelona B boss Rafael Marquez are all potential options that will be analysed internally over the coming weeks and months.

There had been suggestions that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta could be a prime target for Barca, but the Spaniard downplayed links this week and insists he is fully committed to the Gunners.

Another point of note is that when Klopp left Dortmund in 2015 he had also intended to take a lengthy sabbatical, but when Liverpool came calling barely four months later he jumped at the chance to move to Merseyside.

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