Xavi could make his managerial debut for Barca against rivals Espanyol

REVEALED: Barcelona are set to confirm Xavi as their new boss on Thursday… but legendary former midfielder’s first game in charge will be the Catalan derby with Espanyol AFTER the international break

  • Barcelona are expected to announce Xavi as their new manager on Thursday
  • However, fans may have to wait a fortnight before they can see him in the dugout
  • The club want to give Xavi two weeks to prepare before his first home game
  • Barcelona welcome local rivals Espanyol to the Nou Camp on November 20
  • However, Barca great Hristo Stoichkov is questioning the appointment

Barcelona are expected to announce Xavi Hernandez as new coach on Thursday but the club’s supporters might have to wait until after the international break to see him in the dugout.

Xavi takes charge of what should be his last game as coach of Al Saad on Wednesday. He would then arrive in Barcelona on Thursday but the club could leave interim coach Sergi Barjuan in charge for the match away at Celta Vigo on Saturday, giving Xavi two weeks to prepare what would be his first game at home to Espanyol on November 18.

There are doubts over the timing of putting a club legend in charge of the first team and Hristo Stoichkov has added his weight to the argument that it’s the wrong time for the young coach.

Barcelona are expected to announce Xavi as their new manager on Thursday

The former Barcelona striker told TUDN USA: ‘Four months ago Jan [Laporta] said Xavi was still very green, that he was not prepared and that he needed to have more experience. Then he wakes up and says that Xavi is the best man for the club. Is this another legend who will end up having to leave out the back door?’

The argument for Xavi’s relative inexperience have been countered by claims that Pep Guardiola was in a similar situation when he took over in 2009 having only had one year’s experience in the club’s B team. 

Guardiola said last week that he felt Xavi was more experienced than him at the same moment of their careers.

The club want to give Xavi two weeks to prepare before his first home game against Espanyol

However, Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov is questioning the appointment

But Stoichkov said: ‘Pep Guardiola had Johan Cruyff, Txiki Begiristain and José [Ramón] Alexanko . He could talk to those every day.

‘Who is Xavi going to sit down with? Who is going to give him positive advice. Because there will be plenty of negativity from day one. As a Barcelona fan I hope he succeeds.’

Speculation has already started as to who Xavi will want the club to bring in although president Laporta has already made it clear there will be very little the club can do in January.

In an interview in March last year Xavi expressed a fondness for England winger Jadon Sancho. 

Raheem Sterling could be a target for Xavi – but the club’s financial restraints may be an issue

He said: ‘Barcelona have good players through the middle but they lack wingers like the ones Bayern have. They don’t need a lot of new players: Jadon Sancho, Serge Gnabry.’

The likelihood that he will prioritise speedy forwards who can play wide could bode well for Raheem Sterling who has been linked to a move to both Real Madrid and Barcelona in the last 12 months.

He has only made three starts in the Premier League this season but any chance of a move in January is likely to be scuppered by Barcelona’s ongoing financial restraints.

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