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Manchester United 'make shock approach for ex-Barcelona manager'

Man United 'make shock approach for ex-Barcelona manager'
© Reuters
Manchester United reportedly make informal contact with ex-Barcelona head coach Xavi amid continued uncertainty over the future of Erik ten Hag.

Manchester United have apparently made a shock approach to an ex-Barcelona manager amid perennial uncertainty over Erik ten Hag's future.

Despite masterminding a surprise 2-1 win over Manchester City in the final of the FA Cup - thereby clinching his second trophy in two seasons at Old Trafford - Ten Hag's position is far from secure.

Reports prior to the FA Cup final claimed that Sir Jim Ratcliffe was planning to give the Dutchman the boot regardless of the Wembley result, but he remains in situ at this moment in time.

Ten Hag - who still has one year left to run on his contract - has repeatedly stressed that he is relaxed about his situation and has also suggested that INEOS are planning for the future with him at the helm.

However, after overseeing Man United's worst Premier League finish alongside an early Champions League elimination, Ten Hag is supposedly not viewed as a long-term solution, and the consensus is that he will be axed in the coming weeks.

Barcelona head coach Xavi on January 21, 2024© Reuters

Man United 'make informal contact with Xavi'

As the Red Devils hierarchy scope out potential replacements, AS claims that "very informal" contact has been made with Xavi, who was sacked in comical circumstances by Barcelona at the end of the 2023-24 season.

The La Liga-winning head coach originally revealed his plans to leave in January and reaffirmed for months that he would not change his mind, only to perform a U-turn after talks with president Joan Laporta.

Just a few weeks after Xavi's stay was confirmed, though, the Spaniard rubbed Laporta up the wrong way with comments about the club's financial situation, leading to his sacking and the appointment of Hansi Flick.

The report claims that Man United have touched base with Xavi to enquire about his availability, although both AC Milan and Ajax - who made contact in January after his resignation bombshell - are also in the picture.

In addition, the South Korea national team have supposedly offered Xavi the chance to lead the team at the 2026 World Cup, but the Tigers of Asia and all three interested clubs are likely to be left disappointed.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag on May 6, 2024© Reuters

The report adds that Xavi plans to follow the Jurgen Klopp strategy and take a year-long sabbatical before deciding on his next destination, thus ruling out Man United's chances of hiring him as Ten Hag's immediate successor.

Chelsea had also been linked with a move for the legendary Barcelona midfielder as a replacement for Mauricio Pochettino, but the Blues are now on the cusp of hiring Leicester City's Enzo Maresca.

Who is at the top of Man United's managerial shortlist?

Xavi was never considered a serious candidate for the Man United job, although the same cannot be said of Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna, who has erased any doubt over his future by signing a new long-term deal with the newly-promoted Premier League side.

Instead, England head coach Gareth Southgate is believed to be at the top of Ratcliffe's wishlist, while speculation continues to rage over the possibility of Thomas Tuchel taking charge after his Bayern Munich departure.

Contact has reportedly been made with the entourage of Roberto De Zerbi too, and Pochettino's name has been floating around since the Argentine's shock Chelsea exit.

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