Ronald Koeman has been sacked as Barcelona coach after a torrid 14 months, with legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez the strong favourite to replace him.
The 58-year-old Dutchman was dismissed after a 1-0 defeat by Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday left the Spanish giants sitting ninth in La Liga.
Barca have won only two of their last seven league games under Koeman, a run that included losing to Real Madrid in Sunday’s Clasico at Camp Nou.
A poor start to the season has raised the possibility of the team failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League, which would have enormous consequences for the club’s already dire financial situation.
Xavi, who is currently in charge of Qatari club Al Sadd, is considered Koeman’s most likely successor and would be a hugely popular choice with the Barca fans given his glittering playing career there.
There is also the belief that the 41-year-old would instill an attractive style similar to the one played by Barcelona under Pep Guardiola.
River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo and Ajax’s Erik ten Hag have also been linked with the post but might be reluctant to leave their jobs mid-season.