Betting Special: Luis Enrique offers value to replace Vilanova at Barcelona

The former B team coach is highly regarded by both fans and the recently departed manager, and Al Hain-Cole thinks now is the time to back him to return to Camp Nou
After Tito Vilanova unexpectedly announced his resignation as manager of Barcelona for health reasons on Friday, one of world football’s most desirable jobs is up for grabs.

Reports in Spain suggest the Blaugrana board are in advanced talks with Gerardo Martino, who recently left home town club Newell’s Old Boys after guiding them to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores, and he is the clear 4/7 (1.57) frontrunner with BetVictor to take the reins.

Next Barcelona manager

Odds from BetVictor
Gerardo Martino 4/7
Luis Enrique 3/1
Rubi/Michael Laudrup/Frank De Boer/Marcelo Bielsa 12/1
Jordu Roura 25/1
Andre Villas-Boas 25/1
However, former crowd favourite Luis Enrique’s fine work in guiding Barcelona B to promotion to the Segunda Division for the first time in over a decade has not been forgotten at Camp Nou, and he is thought to figure heavily on the shortlist.

Having only just taken over at Celta Vigo this summer, negotiating a deal may prove more complicated, but Vilanova himself is thought to favour the 43-year-old, and his strong connection with the club could make odds of 3/1 (4.00) a wise investment on him returning to Catalonia.

Newly appointed first-team coach Joan Francesc ‘Rubi’ Ferrer has been touted as a possible replacement, but the board’s rumoured reluctance to make an appointment from within may make him probably best avoided at 12/1 (13.00) despite his impressive season in charge of Girona before joining the club.

Similarly, caretaker boss Jordi Roura is supposedly considered too inexperienced to take the job on full time, so can also be ruled out at 25/1 (26.00).

Nevertheless, a candidate familiar with Barca’s idiosyncrasies would be highly desirable considering how little time remains before the start of the new season, which is why  former players Frank De Boer and Michael Laudrup may hold some appeal at 12/1 (13.00).

Both have achieved great success with Ajax and Swansea respectively in playing the attractive football so integral to Barcelona’s ethos, and would undoubtedly represent popular choices.

Whoever takes over will still feel Pep Guardiola’s shadow looming over them, but Marcelo Bielsa’s widely acclaimed influence on the new Bayern Munich boss’ coaching philosophy make the former Athletic Bilbao manager a genuine option, at 12/1 (13.00).

Andre Villas-Boas has been mentioned due to his aesthetically pleasing playing style, but with an appointment targeted within a few days, it seems unlikely that Barca would enter difficult negotiations to bring the Tottenham boss to Spain for the first time, so his selection would come as a major shock at 25/1 (26.00).

Luis Enrique to be next Barcelona manager at 3/1 (4.00) with BetVictor

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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