Barcelona have sacked manager Ernesto Valverde despite the club sitting top of La Liga at the halfway point of the season
The shock decision comes in the wake of last week’s Sp anish Super Cup semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid, in which Barca threw away a lead late on to lose 3-2.
That result accelerated a move for club legend Xavi to replace Valverde, but after their former midfielder turned down a return to the Nou Camp, they are now poised to appoint Setien, ahead of a potential move for Mauricio Pochettino.
Valverde has become the first boss axed by Barcelona midway through a season since Louis van Gaal 17 years ago. The club were 20 points behind leaders Real Sociedad at the time of the Dutchman’s sacking and finished the campaign in sixth position, 22 points off champions Real Madrid.