By Ben Hayward in Barcelona
Gerardo Martino is set to fly in for talks with Barcelona on Monday as the Catalans step up their search for a replacement for outgoing coach Tito Vilanova, who stepped down to continue treatment for cancer on Friday.
Martino has cancelled his holidays and will travel to Barcelona to continue negotiations with the Spanish champions, although the club also remain interested in recruiting their former player and B-team coach Luis Enrique from Celta Vigo.
Luis Enrique's arrival is complicated by the fact that he only joined Celta earlier this summer and is curently designing a new project for the Galician side ahead of the 2013-14 season. Barca would have to pay a €3 million release clause to sign their former midfielder, who played 300 games in Blaugrana colours and coached the club's B team between 2008 and 2011.
Former Paraguay and Newell's Old Boys coach Martino is the preferred choice of Lionel Messi and recently revealed his admiration for Barcelona's passing game. The Argentine will fly in for talks with sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta on Monday and could be unveiled by Barca as early as Tuesday if negotiations are successful.
Meanwhile, Celta claim they have had no contact from Barca regarding Luis Enrique, who resumes training with the Galician side on Monday after using his day off on Sunday to participate in a cycle ride with former Barca goalkeeping coach Juan Carlos Unzue. "I'm exercising my legs and my head," the 43-year-old later wrote on Twitter.
Whatever happens, Jordi Roura will take charge of Barca's friendly against Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich side on Wednesday.
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