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Barca deny making contact with Athletic over Valverde

23:43 SAST 2017/03/24
ernestovalverde - cropped
The coach has long been linked with the top job at Camp Nou, but Barca have trashed reports that formal contact has already been made

Barcelona have "flatly denied" asking Athletic Bilbao for permission to speak to Ernesto Valverde as a possible replacement for Luis Enrique.

Valverde has been strongly linked with a switch to Camp Nou after Luis Enrique announced his intention to leave the club at the end of the season.

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Reports in Spain on Friday suggested Barca officials had made an initial approach for the 53-year-old, but the LaLiga champions have vehemently denied that is the case.

"FC Barcelona flatly denies having asked permission to the Athletic Club to negotiate the procurement of its coach Ernesto Valverde," a statement read.

"Also the club denies the Technical Secretary Robert Fernandez has contacted Ernesto Valverde in recent days to negotiate a transfer to FC Barcelona."

Along with the Athletic coach, Barca have been connected with Real Sociedad coach Eusebio Sacristan, while Luis Enrique's assistant Juan Carlos Unzue is also said to be in the frame.

Valverde has been touted as a future boss of the Catalan giants before but was overlooked for Luis Enrique last time around.