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Al-Sadd reaffirm desire to keep Xavi as head coach after Barcelona club executives travel to Qatar

17:30 GMT 03/11/2021
Xavi Al-Sadd
The Catalan giants appeared to be on the verge of appointing a club legend as the permanent successor to Ronald Koeman

Barcelona are closing in on appointing Xavi as their new head coach after sending club executives to Qatar to finalise a deal, Goal can confirm, however his current club Al-Sadd have restated their desire to hold onto their manager.

Xavi was initially offered the top job at Camp Nou following Ronald Koeman's sacking on October 27.

Sergi Barjuan has taken interim charge of the squad while Barca work on the appointment of a club legend. Although a final agreement appears close, Al Sadd have insisted that they still have no intention of letting Xavi leave.

What is the situation?

Goal has learned that Blaugrana vice-president Rafa Yuste and director of football Mateu Alemany travelled to Doha following the team's 1-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday night.

The Barca chiefs met for talks with Al Sadd officials to discuss their intention to appoint Xavi, with a two-and-a-half-year deal now awaiting the 41-year-old at Camp Nou.

Should negotiations progress as expected, Xavi could be unveiled at Barca by next week, with Barjuan's final game in the dugout likely to come against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Al Sadd still aiming to keep Xavi

Following the meeting, Al Sadd laid down a marker by saying that they are "committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us."

"We welcome the visit of the administrative delegation from Barcelona, and we appreciate and respect this," said CEO Turki Al-Ali. "The club's position is clear from the beginning - we are committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us and we cannot have him leave at this sensitive time of the season."

What has Laporta said?

Barca president Joan Laporta gave a clear indication that Xavi is the club's No 1 candidate to succeed Koeman when speaking at a press conference last week.

"My opinion of Xavi as a coach is that he is fine, he is in an interesting process," he told reporters. "I have very good references, I speak with him very often and I know his opinion about the team, but they are confidential conversations between friends.

"We appreciate each other and my opinion of him is very good. I have always said that one day he would coach Barca. I trust the people around me. We will see how everything evolves."

Xavi at Barca & coaching record

Xavi is widely regarded as one of the finest players to ever grace the Camp Nou pitch, after appearing in 767 games across 24 years with Barca. The Spaniard helped the Blaugrana win multiple Liga and Champions League titles amid a whole host of other honours before seeing out his playing days at Al Sadd between 2015 and 2019.

He has since been building experience in his first managerial role with the Qatar-based club, who have won seven trophies under his stewardship and are unbeaten in their last 35 league matches.

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