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BARCELONA

Villas-Boas and Luis Enrique in frame to take over at Barça

Barcelona are working against the clock to appoint a replacement for outgoing coach Tito Vilanova. Ex-Athletic coach Marcelo Bielsa is also a candidate.

Santi Giménez

Barcelona are working against the clock to appoint a replacement for outgoing coach Tito Vilanova. When Vilanova spent an enforced period in New York for cancer treatment last season, the Catalan club opted to promote from within, naming assistant coach Jordi Roura as stand-in boss. On this occasion, the La Liga champions are set to look elsewhere.

Earlier in the summer, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta had earmarked Ernesto Valverde as plan B should Tito be unable to return to work. However, the former Valencia coach has now taken charge at Athletic Bilbao. Meanwhile, president Sandro Rosell favoured a move for Luis Enrique. The ex-Barça player had waited for a call from the Camp Nou outfit before being appointed at Celta Vigo in June. It remains possible that Barcelona will attempt to reach a deal with Celta to secure his services.

Current Tottenham Hotspur manager André Villas-Boas is a further alternative. Indeed, the Portuguese coach has a clause in his contract at White Hart Lane allowing him to leave if he receives an offer from Barcelona. This was his reason for turning down the advances of Paris Saint-Germain during the summer. This clause is worth around 14 million euros.

Ex-Athletic coach Marcelo Bielsa also remains a candidate. The Argentine, who left San Mamés at the end of the season, had been in talks with Santos. However, he failed to reach a deal with the Brazilian side.

A less high-profile option is Lluis Carreras, a former Barça youth product who is coach of Liga Adelante side Sabadell.

Estadísticas AS.com