Barcelona make Liverpool's back-up option their number one target to replace Xavi

As the managerial merry-go-round continues to turn, Barcelona appear to have taken a decisive step which could have repercussions in both Liverpool and Munich.

According to the Independent, the Catalan giants have stolen a march on their rivals by zeroing in on Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim as their preferred candidate to succeed Xavi Hernandez, who announced he is leaving at the end of the season.

Barcelona are understood to be "closer" to the Sporting coach than "any of their major European rivals", says the report, but a definitive move hasn't yet been made.

Amorim, who steered Sporting Lisbon to their first league title in nearly two decades in 2021, has emerged on the shortlists of three of Europe's top clubs, all of which are about to undergo a change in the dugout.

While Barcelona are set to say good-bye to Xavi, both Liverpool and Bayern Munich need a new coach, too, with Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, respectively, stepping down at the end of the season.

Sought-after talent

Amorim's impressive track record and his role in Sporting Lisbon's resurgence have elevated his status as one of the most sought-after managerial talents in the upcoming summer transfer window.

In fact, Liverpool had identified Amorim as their backup option to replace Klopp. But despite Bayern Munich's interest in Bayer Leverkusen's Xabi Alonso, the Spaniard reportedly remains the Reds' first choice.

With Liverpool and Bayern both prioritising Xabi Alonso, Barcelona's proactive approach in prioritising Amorim could potentially see them outmanoeuver both clubs as they secure a considerable head start in negotiations.

If the Catalans were to solidify their interest Amorim, it could soon mean that the Reds are putting all their eggs in one basket and risk going into a head-to-head battle with Bayern for their top target without a backup in place.

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