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Hansi Flick 'wants Liverpool man as Barcelona assistant'

Hansi Flick 'wants Liverpool man as Barcelona assistant'
© Reuters
Incoming Barcelona head coach Hansi Flick supposedly identifies Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara as one of three potential assistant managers at Camp Nou.

Incoming Barcelona manager Hansi Flick has reportedly identified a Liverpool veteran as an ideal assistant to work alongside at Camp Nou.

The ex-Bayern Munich and Germany head coach is supposedly on the verge of being appointed as successor to Xavi, who was sacked on Friday after a managerial soap opera.

The Spaniard announced his plans to resign in January and repeatedly stressed that nothing could make him change his mind, only to eventually agree to stay after talks with president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco.

However, Xavi then angered Laporta with comments about Barcelona's financial troubles and chances of winning the 2024-25 La Liga title, leading to his comical sacking just a few weeks after it was confirmed that he would stay on.

After ruling out a number of other candidates, Barcelona are said to have reached a complete agreement with the unattached Flick, who has apparently drawn up a list of viable lieutenants.

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara pictured in February 2024© Reuters

Flick 'wants Thiago Alcantara as Barcelona coach'

According to AS, Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara is one of three names on Flick's shortlist, as the Spaniard will be leaving Anfield upon the expiration of his contract in June.

A former Blaugrana midfielder who made 100 appearances for the Catalan giants, Thiago's four years at Anfield were blighted by injuries, and he played a mere five minutes in all tournaments in 2023-24 due to a combination of hip and muscle issues.

Prior to his Liverpool stint, the 33-year-old worked under Flick during his successful Bayern Munich spell, and Barcelona have supposedly contacted him over a possible coaching appointment.

Flick is said to be keen to hire an assistant who is fluent in both Spanish and German, to act as a direct link between him and the playing squad, and Thiago would fit the brief.

However, the Blaugrana are not optimistic of bringing Thiago back to Camp Nou, as the 33-year-old has no desire to hang up his boots just yet and wants to continue playing after leaving Liverpool.

Who are Flick's other candidates for assistant manager?

Germany coach Hansi Flick before the match on September 9, 2023© Reuters

There was brief talk of Thiago going back to Barcelona in a playing capacity, but the 2022-23 Spanish champions are expected to pursue younger targets to strengthen their engine room.

With Thiago intent on continuing in a playing capacity for a little while longer, Flick has reportedly put two other names up for the role of assistant manager, including 35-year-old Javi Martinez.

The Spain World Cup winner spent nine years on the Bayern books from 2012 to 2021 and now represents Qatar SC, but he is in the twilight of his career and is expected to retire soon.

However, Martinez never represented Barcelona in a playing capacity, unlike Marc Bartra, who has spent several months out with an Achilles injury and is also under contract with Real Betis until the end of the season.

Al-Shabab midfielder and Croatia legend Ivan Rakitic has also been mentioned, but he is not thought to be a serious target at this stage.

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