Barcelona have identified Everton manager Ronald Koeman as a potential candidate to replace under-fire boss Luis Enrique. Koeman spent six successful years with Barcelona as a player and has long been linked with the Camp Nou hotseat, but the Toffees would be loath to lose the Dutchman after just one season.
Enrique's future at Barcelona has been shrouded in uncertainty for some time and The Mirror claims the Blaugrana hierarchy are prepared to relieve the 46-year-old of his duties after they suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday night (14 February). Koeman, who has already managed in La Liga with Valencia, is one of the contenders to succeed Enrique alongside Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli, Athletic Bilbao's Ernesto Valverde and Real Sociedad boss Eusebio Sacristan are also in the frame to replace Enrique should Barcelona wield the axe. Sampaoli has worked wonders with Sevilla this season and has the Andalusians lying in third, just three points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid. Sociedad boss Eusebio, who played for Barcelona between 1988 and 1995, was sacked as manager of the club's B team in 2015.
Everton boss Koeman, who spent two years as assistant to Louis van Gaal at the Camp Nou between 1998 and 2000, does harbour ambitions of managing Barcelona one day but dismissed reports linking him with a return to Spain a couple of weeks ago. The former Southampton boss has two-and-a-half-years left on his current deal with Everton, who are prepared to back him with serious transfer funds in the summer as they bid to break into the top six.
The former Ajax and PSV Eindhoven boss may face questions over his future when he returns home from Everton's warm-weather training camp in Dubai. The Toffees are enjoying an extended break after being unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by struggling Leicester City last month and will hope their UAE excursion reaps rewards when they host Sunderland in the Premier League on February 25.