Liverpool given manager boost as Barcelona rule out highly rated contender

Barcelona sporting director Deco has all but ruled out Ruben Amorim from taking over from Xavi once the Barca manager leaves at the end of the season, in a boost to Liverpool’s hopes of landing the Portuguese manager. 

Amorim, 39, is the current Sporting SP head coach and won the side’s first Primeira Liga title for 19 years back in 2021. He has also added two Portuguese cups to his trophy haul in Lisbon. 

The former midfielder had been mentioned as a potential replacement for Xavi, who announced in January that he will be stepping down at the end of the current campaign. 

Barca have suffered some serious defeats in LaLiga and in the cups this season with Xavi’s famously tight defensive record deserting him this term.

They were beaten heavily by Girona and Villarreal in the league, by Athletic Club in the cup and by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, piling the pressure on the former midfield maestro.

He opted to declare his intentions to leave - and on the same weekend as Jurgen Klopp announced his departure from Liverpool - and talk has turned to who could replace Xavi at the end of the season. 

Barcelona are in financial dire straits with club president Joan Laporta all out of levers to pull, meaning any incoming manager will be working with one hand tied behind his back. 

And not only that but Amorim has a weighty release clause of around €20m (£17m) to free him from his Sporting contract, which extends to 2026. 

Given Barcelona are unsure whether they will have any money to spend this summer, the focus is likely to be on candidates who are already available, such as Hansi Flick and Antonio Conte. 

“For now, all hypotheses are on the table,” Deco told the Portuguese press this week. “But which Portuguese coach? How many Portuguese coaches are prepared for the weight and responsibility of taking care of Barcelona, ​​even more so this Barcelona with all the difficulties it carries. You tell me. 

“I know that Ruben Amorim is doing a good job at Sporting and, on top of that, he plays with a style similar to ours. But he also has very little experience.”

“We have a serious financial issue on our hands and that was one of the reasons why they hired me.

“We don’t have money for the investments made by other millionaire clubs and this discourages any coach who comes here with the desire to win everything now. We cannot give you the means to do so, unfortunately. Not at this stage.”

All that could mean a boost for Liverpool, who are in the market for a manager of their own. While Xabi Alonso is seen as the early frontrunner to take over from Klopp, Amorim is one of a number of other candidates who have been mentioned along with Roberto de Zerbi and Julian Nagelsmann.

Amorim’s Sporting have been focused on by Liverpool’s scouting department with centre-back pairing Ousmane Diomande and Goncalo Inacio among the most attractive defensive prospects in Europe. 

He is known as a good developer of players with the likes of Matheus Nunes, Pedro Porro and new striker Viktor Gyokeres excelling under his management. 

Sporting are currently second in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, level with Benfica on points and with a game in hand. 

Amorim has led Sporting to some landmark European results also, downing Arsenal in the Europa League last season, and leading his side into the Champions League last 16 in 2022. 

Share This Article