Balague suggests Barcelona were interested in appointing Pochettino

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has confirmed that Barcelona were interested in appointing Mauricio Pochettino as their new head coach earlier this year. The Catalan giants parted ways with Ernesto Valverde after a winless run of games in January and they thereafter appointed Quique Setien as their manager on a two-and-a-half year contract.

Setien was definitely not the first-choice option with the likes of Xavi and Ronald Koeman approached before him and it appears that Pochettino was also on the club’s radar. In an official tweet, Balague revealed that Eric Abidal was impressed by the CV of Pochettino, who has a fond relationship with some of the Blaugrana hierarchy.

However, the former Argentina star needed more time to take a decision and that contributed to Setien taking over the reins, he told: “Barcelona had been looking for a new manager for months. Eric Abidal was very impressed with Pochettino and was backed/admired by not only Ramon Planes (Eric’s right hand man) and president [Josep Bartomeu], as he knows Poch well, but other top directors too. FCB wanted to take the decision this week and Pochettino needed more time to think about it. It is a hard decision to take, being [an] Espanyol fan and needing to know the project in detail. He wanted to talk to his people. It was all too rushed.”

Pochettino had been associated with the Arsenal job shortly after the dismissal at Tottenham Hotspur but the Gunners took the option to appoint Mikel Arteta at the helm. Since then, United have been earmarked as a probable destination for the Argentine but a move may not happen, particularly with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer transforming United’s fortunes over the past few months. The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in 11 games across all competitions and they have managed to beat the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City (twice) during this period.