Barcelona are facing legal action from Quique Setien after the coach they sacked last month revealed dismay over the handling of his dismissal.

Setien was removed from his post in a move that allowed Ronald Koeman to return to Camp Nou to take charge of the team.

Former Real Betis boss Setien indicated Barcelona have offered no compensation and said the Catalan club have failed to honour terms of the contract he signed in January.

In a statement that Setien posted on social media, from himself and his coaching team of Eder Sarabia, Jon Pascua and Fran Soto, it was claimed that all four only received written confirmation of their sackings on Wednesday of this week.

Those came via burofax, the coaches said, with the statement saying there had been "absolute silence on the part of the FC Barcelona board of directors" until that point.

According to the statement from Setien and his coaches, Barcelona indicated "a clear intention ... not to comply" with contracts that were signed on January 14, in the week that Setien succeeded Ernesto Valverde.

Setien said in the statement: "It is public and well known that, on August 17, both the club and the president announced my dismissal with immediate effect.

"However, it was not until yesterday, September 16 (one month later), when they sent me, for the first time, the written communication of said dismissal (without any settlement)."

The statement from Setien and his coaches added: "For all that has been said, we have been forced to put the conflict resolution in the hands of our lawyers, having to file the corresponding legal actions.

"This is in order to preserve our rights and what was agreed upon with FC Barcelona."

Setien endured a tough seven months as head coach after relacing Valverde.

Following a three-month pause in the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barcelona were overtaken by Real Madrid in the LaLiga title run-in.

They were then humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, a result which proved the final straw for president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the Barcelona board as Setien departed.

Captain Lionel Messi sought to follow his coach out of Camp Nou but could not agree terms for a free transfer.

Ronald Koeman has been hired as Barcelona's new head coach following Monday's dismissal of Quique Setien.

The Dutchman leaves his role as head coach of the Netherlands, having agreed a two-year deal at Camp Nou.

Setien's sacking was confirmed after just seven months in charge, as he paid the price for Barca's failure to win LaLiga and their 8-2 Champions League humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich.

That quarter-final defeat last Friday was Barca's worst since 1946 and others could yet follow Setien out of the door.

First-team technical secretary Eric Abidal has also left after his position came under severe scrutiny, while president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed the club's elections have been brought forward to March but has resisted calls to step down. The incumbent will not be able to stand for presidency again.

Before Koeman was confirmed, Barca announced the appointment of Ramon Planes to replace Abidal.

Changes are coming for Barca and the arrival of Koeman, who spent six years with the club as a player until 1995 and was also Louis van Gaal's assistant from 1998 to 2000, is chief among them.

Koeman had been working as head coach of his whom nation, having taken charge following Dick Advocaat's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

His impact with the Oranje was swift, leading them to the Nations League final last year and winning six of eight Euro 2020 qualifiers – their solitary defeat coming to Germany in March 2019 – en route to securing a place at the finals.

Koeman was approached by Barca when Ernesto Valverde was sacked in January but turned them down, citing his commitment to leading the Netherlands through Euro 2020. However, the tournament was postponed by a year due to coronavirus and Koeman's personal circumstances shifted when he was hospitalised for heart surgery in May.

Barca will now hope Koeman can elicit a similar response at Camp Nou as he did with his national team, but he is facing an uphill battle.

Captain and talisman Lionel Messi has reportedly told the club he wants to leave as soon as possible, while Gerard Pique has called for wholesale changes and even offered to move on for the benefit of the team.

Barca will also be without Marc-Andre ter Stegen until November after the goalkeeper had knee surgery, and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is likely to make significant spending in the transfer market difficult.

Koeman will not have long to implement any changes, either. The 2020-21 LaLiga season is due to begin in a little under a month's time.

It is widely thought Koeman is seen as a stop-gap until the club can convince former midfielder Xavi – now coach of Al Sadd – to return, having so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to bring him back. Presidential candidate Victor Font has named the ex-Spain star as a top target should he win the election.

Mauricio Pochettino had also been mentioned as a possible option and was apparently favoured by Bartomeu, but media reports claim the board refused to sanction his appointment due to his connections to local rivals Espanyol and disparaging comments he had previously made regarding the Blaugrana.

Ronald Koeman has been hired as Barcelona's new head coach following Monday's dismissal of Quique Setien.

 

 

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has had his contract terminated by mutual consent, the LaLiga club have announced.

The former France international's departure continues a post-season overhaul at Camp Nou, with head coach Quique Setien sacked following the humiliating 8-2 Champions League quarter-final loss to Bayern Munich.

A report by Sport suggested the majority of the Barcelona first-team squad are up for sale ahead of Ronald Koeman's expected appointment as Setien's successor.

Lionel Messi is not among the vast list of Blaugrana players thought to be on the market, although a report by Marcelo Bechler – the journalist who broke news of Neymar's shock move from Barca to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 – stated the six-time Ballon d'Or winner wants to leave.

What increasingly looks like a sizeable rebuild will now not be helmed by Abidal, who has been under pressure since the botched handling of Ernesto Valverde's departure.

Setien's predecessor was dismissed in January after Barcelona were knocked out of the Supercopa de Espana, despite them being top of LaLiga at that stage.

"FC Barcelona and Eric Abidal have reached an agreement for the termination of the contract which united both parties," a club statement read.

"The club publicly expresses its gratitude to Eric Abidal for the professionalism, commitment, dedication and positive and close treatment he has always shown towards all the estates that make up the Barca family and wishes him luck and success in the future."

Abidal always looked vulnerable after Barcelona's collapse at home – Real Madrid regained the LaLiga title – and abroad, yet a report by Cadena Cope late on Monday said he would remain in his post.

Despite a succession of underwhelming and expensive signings since his June 2018 appointment, from a flop on the grand scale of the now departed Malcom to the hugely underwhelming and publicly pursued Antoine Griezmann, Abidal's handling of Valverde's exit marked something of a nadir.

A coach responsible for back-to-back LaLiga triumphs, albeit set alongside painful Champions League exits at the hands of Roma and Liverpool, was undermined by reports of Abidal apparently courting Xavi for his post, only for the club great to reject a return to Barcelona in the dugout and pave the way for Setien's doomed tenure.

Most significantly, especially given recent reports around the 33-year-old captain's future, Messi reacted furiously to Abidal's suggestion the Barcelona players had not been working hard enough under Valverde.

In an Instagram post in February, Messi wrote: "Honestly, I don’t like doing these things but I think that everyone has to be responsible for his acts and take responsibility for their own decisions.

"The players [are responsible for] what happens on the pitch, and we have been the first to recognise when we were not good. The people in the sporting directorate should also assume their responsibility and above all take ownership of the decisions they make.

"Finally, I think that when players are talked about, names should be given because, if not, we are all being dirtied and it feeds comments that are made and are not true."

The prolonged torment of the past few months stands in stark contrast to Abidal's inspirational playing days at Barcelona.

A €9million signing from Lyon in 2007, he went on to star in the 2008-09 treble-winning side under Pep Guardiola – the honours of that season being the first of four LaLiga titles, two Champions Leagues and two Copas del Rey that Abidal won as a player in Catalonia.

In March 2011, Abidal was diagnosed with a tumour in his liver and underwent surgery to have it removed. Remarkably, he was back in action before the end of the season and played 90 minutes in the 3-1 Champions League final win over Manchester United, after which he was handed the captain's armband to lift the trophy at Wembley.

The 67-cap France international was forced to undergo a liver transplant the following year but again made a comeback before moving to Monaco at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, eventually retiring as a player in December 2014 after a short stint at Olympiacos.

Quique Setien has been sacked as head coach of Barcelona after their astonishing Champions League thrashing by Bayern Munich.

 

Mooted Barcelona target Ronald Koeman should only be given a one-year contract at Camp Nou with his future then decided by the club's next president, according to one candidate.

Koeman is reportedly set to be named as the new Blaugrana coach, leaving his role as Netherlands boss when the anticipated departure of Quique Setien is confirmed by the Catalan giants.

Setien failed to defend Barca's LaLiga crown and then suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Koeman may not be the only new face at the club, however, with the elections to come next year, potentially prompting changes in the boardroom.

Former vice-president Emili Rousaud, who quit in April, is in the running and would endorse Koeman's appointment only on a short-term basis.

"I would propose a year for Koeman, with the next conditional on who wins the election and whether they propose to continue," Rousaud told Radio Marca.

After making a call on their coach, Barca must then get to work in the transfer market. Rousaud suggests there should be plenty of outgoings.

"This cycle is over," he said. "Certain players over the age of 30 and with long contracts can't continue.

"We need to find creative solutions, such as loans of top earners to countries with lower tax rates."

With all eyes on Barcelona, Lionel Messi's future is again a talking point.

The Catalans capitulated in the Champions League on Friday, thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals in an embarrassing defeat.

Quique Setien appears set to be sacked as coach, while Messi's future has become unclear.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY TARGET MESSI AMID BARCELONA CHAOS

Manchester City think they are in pole position to sign Messi if he leaves Barcelona, according to the Mirror.

Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until next year and is reportedly prepared to walk away from the club amid the chaos.

City have been linked with the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner previously, while Inter are another reportedly interested.

ROUND-UP

- Changes are expected at Barcelona. AS reports Messi will be free to decide his future in January, while it says Setien and technical secretary Eric Abidal are on their way out.

- The focus otherwise in Spain is on Setien's replacement at Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is a candidate to take over at Camp Nou with Mauricio Pochettino and Al Sadd boss Xavi losing steam. Marca says Pochettino and Koeman are favourites, while Sport reports the former Tottenham manager is the frontrunner. It says Koeman, Massimiliano Allegri, Thierry Henry and Garcia Pimienta are also candidates.

- Elsewhere, Chelsea's apparent search for a defender continues. The Sun reports they are closing in on a £40million move for Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Lewis Dunk, who is also reportedly a target for Tottenham.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also linked with goalkeepers to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Sun says Chelsea and Everton are targeting Watford's 37-year-old shot-stopper Ben Foster.

- After an impressive loan spell at Roma, Chris Smalling is attracting plenty of interest. Sky Sports reports Newcastle United are keen on the Manchester United defender.

"Nobody is safe," declared Gerard Pique after Barcelona were humiliated by Bayern Munich in their final match of a long, long season.

The defender was very clear that changes must be made in the wake of an 8-2 battering in the Champions League quarter-finals.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu is expected to chair an extraordinary board meeting on Monday, when the dismissal of head coach Quique Setien appears likely to be ratified.

Barca's problems stem far beyond the man in charge of the first team, but Setien looked powerless in the dugout in Lisbon on Friday and is the first obvious departure as part of a top-down clear-out at Camp Nou.

Appointing a replacement is complicated by next year's presidential elections. Assuming Bartomeu does not heed growing calls to step aside, he will be in power for at least another 10 months. That means any coach who comes in now could find himself supplanted by the preferred choice of the next president.

With that in mind, here are six of the firm favourites to take over from Setien.

 

Mauricio Pochettino

The favourite in many quarters, former Tottenham boss Pochettino could be a hugely tempting - and low-cost - choice.

The Argentinian, who left Spurs last November five months after reaching the Champions League final, has softened his stance on coaching Barca after previously declaring he could never take the job due to his allegiance to Espanyol.

Barca would represent by far the biggest job of his coaching career and the sheer challenge of getting them back on track could appeal to Pochettino, who turned Spurs into Premier League title challengers and top-four regulars over five years.

There are reports, however, that Pochettino's appointment could be a majorly divisive move, given his previous comments about Barcelona.

Xavi

Barca's former captain turned down the coaching job in January when Ernesto Valverde was sacked, and he may think the time is still not right to take the reins.

The Catalans would need to buy out his deal with Al Sadd as well as convince Xavi to come back, plus there are political complications, with presidential challenger Victor Font declaring the former Spain star would be his choice in 2021 if he wins the election.

Still, there are few who better understand the 'Barca DNA', he is adored by the fans and, crucially, he could be the man to convince Lionel Messi to stay.

 

Massimiliano Allegri

Another unattached option, Allegri has a commendable pedigree from his time with Milan and Juventus. Six Serie A titles, seven domestic cups and two Champions League finals in the past decade give Allegri a CV to rival any candidate.

He would certainly bring an uncompromising authority to the dressing room, as well as vast experience, but the 53-year-old could well be put off by the complications of those elections, especially given other leading clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Inter are said to be interested if they make a change.

Patrick Kluivert

Kluivert represents one of Bartomeu's more sensible possible appointments given he would probably accept the job despite the uncertainty of next year.

The former Barca striker is currently head of youth football at Camp Nou, and that is a role to which he could return if the head coach position became untenable in 2021.

He is another who understands the club well, would presumably be more than happy to promote youngsters to the first team, and he learned some of his coaching craft at the right hand of Louis van Gaal with the Netherlands national team.

 

Ronald Koeman

Another former Barca star who knows only too well the demands of the club, Koeman also spoke with them about replacing Valverde only to turn them down.

Like Xavi, Koeman is committed to his present project, which is to lead Netherlands at Euro 2020. With that tournament having been pushed back to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 57-year-old would appear unlikely to quit his national team now for the sake of a potential short-term posting at his old club.

Garcia Pimienta

Like Kluivert, Pimienta represents an internal candidate who would likely be unmoved by the looming elections.

A former academy player who made one appearance for the senior side, Pimienta has been coaching at La Masia since 2001 and took charge of the B team two years ago.

It would be unfair to expect him to become the new Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique, who also honed their first-team credentials with the B team, but the 46-year-old would likely be a popular choice for the new generation of talent breaking through, even if the appointment lasted only until next year.

For the Barcelona players and staff, there was nowhere to hide in the glare of the Estadio da Luz. 

An unprecedented, unmitigated, humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Friday laid bare the serious malfunctioning of one of the world's grandest clubs. 

President Josep Maria Bartomeu has already confirmed that "announcements will be made" next week, likely beginning with the future of coach Quique Setien, but Barca's problems run far deeper, from the boardroom to the dressing room. 

"Nobody is safe," said Gerard Pique after the match. "It is not the first time, the second time or the third time, it's very tough. I hope it is useful for something." 

The defender needs nobody to tell him that significant changes must be made at Camp Nou and he himself offered to leave for the good of the club. Ironically, such a public admission suggests he is the kind of character Barca need to keep. 

Who, then, are the people who should go if Barca are to become great again? 

THE BOARD

Josep Maria Bartomeu

The buck stops with the president. Bartomeu survived those infamous nights in Rome and Liverpool, but Lisbon must surely be the beginning of the end for a man who has presided over a wretched, expensive decline. Victor Font is presently the only rival candidate for the 2021 elections, if we get there.

Javier Bordas

Bordas is the director in charge of the football first team at Barca and, regardless of the presidency, it is only right that a new figurehead is put in place to oversee the rebuild.

THE EXECUTIVES

Eric Abidal

Barca's first-team technical secretary came under pressure after a public falling-out with Lionel Messi this year, and his job now looks untenable.  It's essential Barca appoint someone who can repair the damaged relations between the board and the players. Carles Puyol has been touted as a good candidate for the role, including by Messi. 

Oscar Grau

As CEO, Grau is the beating heart of Barcelona's operations and he cannot escape blame for the way the football project has been run in recent years. Speculation has seen Sevilla's Monchi linked with the role.

THE COACHES

Quique Setien

The problems ran deeper than Ernesto Valverde and sacking his successor will likewise not solve everything, but watching him lean against the Luz dugout, silent and stewing, made it abundantly clear that he cannot fix this team. Mauricio Pochettino is available and, despite past reservations, he seems willing to put aside his Espanyol loyalty.

Eder Sarabia

Setien's assistant would almost certainly follow him out of the door. Sarabia looks to have struggled to get the players to buy into the boss' demands and it would not make much sense to stay.

THE SQUAD

Martin Braithwaite

Barca were given special dispensation to sign Braithwaite from Leganes due to injury, while Leganes were denied the same option. They were relegated, Barca's season ended in infamy, and Braithwaite was not even eligible to play. West Ham are apparently interested.

Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho came off the bench to score twice and assist another for Bayern against Barca, the Catalans having loaned out their €140million-plus man after becoming unconvinced by his form. You'd struggle to imagine a more damning visual indictment of Barca's transfer policy.

The coronavirus pandemic has hampered spending across the continent, but any moderate fee for the Brazilian would help Barca to build for the future.

Rafinha

Rafinha has played eight league games in three years for Barca, spending most of that time on loan at Inter and Celta. Now 27, it's time they cash in. Everton and Wolves have been linked. 

Ivan Rakitic

Unfairly maligned by a section of the fanbase, Rakitic has probably reached the point where a move is in everyone's best interests. He has declined since helping Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final and, despite insisting he will stay, a return to Sevilla would ease the burden on the Barca wage bill and help to bring down the squad's average age.

Nelson Semedo

Right-back has been a problem position since Dani Alves left in 2015, and Semedo's performance against Bayern made it clear that he is not the long-term solution. Manchester City had been linked, although Pep Guardiola will surely have been put off by Friday's viewing.

Jean-Clair Todibo

He's only 20 and has played four times in LaLiga, but selling Todibo would be a simple way for Barca to raise desperately needed funds. Schalke, who signed him on loan in January, had a €25m purchase option.

Samuel Umtiti

Barca were terrified of losing the centre-back in the wake of Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain move, with Umtiti's release clause at just €60m. Since that buyout price was increased to €500m, Umtiti has been undermined by injuries, inconsistency and coaching changes at Camp Nou, but he could still command a decent fee.

Arturo Vidal

One of the few players who has impressed under Setien, Vidal is 33 and should not really be part of the Barca rebuild. His contract is up next year, so now is the time to sell to earn even a small fee.

Moussa Wague

Nice chose not to activate their purchase option on the full-back, but he remains a sellable asset for Barca, who are unlikely to use him in the first team next season.

Goodbye Quique Setien?

Barcelona's Champions League horror show against Bayern Munich is reportedly the final straw for the club's hierarchy.

Who will replace the former Real Betis boss at Camp Nou?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TO SACK SETIEN

Barcelona have decided to sack head coach Quique Setien, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

LaLiga giants Barca were humiliated in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday following an 8-2 defeat to Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich.

Barca have already decided Setien – who replaced Ernesto Valverde in January – will not continue in 2020-21, and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has already been linked, while club great Xavi and Massimiliano Allegri are other possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Star reports Manchester United are eyeing Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez. United have been linked to the Spain international previously and are believed to be ready to revive their interest.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Evening Standard says United remain in talks with Borussia Dortmund regarding Jadon Sancho. Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave the Bundesliga side, though United are reportedly still in negotiations for the England international. Meanwhile, Outlet Republika in Serbia claims United have agreed to sign teenage sensation Filip Stevanovic from Partizan Belgrade before loaning him back to the capital club.

- Hella Verona defender Marash Kumbulla wants to join Inter, Sky Sport Italia claims. Kumbulla has been linked to Napoli, Lazio and Juventus.

Bayern Munich want to keep loanee Ivan Perisic, according to Sky Sport Italia. Perisic has spent the season on loan from Inter and Bayern are hoping to negotiate a permanent deal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to remain at Milan and could soon sign a new contract with the Rossoneri, reports Calciomercato.

- Foot Mercato claims Barca could consider re-signing Thiago Alcantara from Bayern. Thiago, who left Barca in 2013, has been tipped to join Liverpool, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have emerged as possible destinations.

Arsenal are planning to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico following the arrival of William, reports The Daily Star.

Sergio Busquets hopes Barcelona and Arthur come to a speedy resolution on the Brazil international's situation at Camp Nou.

Arthur has agreed to join Juventus at the end of the season in a deal worth €82million, with Miralem Pjanic heading the other way for a fee that could reach €65m.

The former Gremio midfielder has not featured for Barca since his transfer was announced in June and did not return to training following the conclusion of LaLiga.

Arthur has been left out of the Barcelona squad to face Napoli in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Saturday and is reported to be hoping to negotiate the termination of his contract.

"It was a surprise to everyone that Arthur did not return," said Busquets, who will be unavailable to face Napoli due to a suspension triggered by a booking in the 1-1 draw in the first leg.

"Arthur's situation has been difficult, but the only ones who know the situation are the player and the club.

"We know some of the news from what comes out, that he left and will now return, but we are on the sidelines and we hope they reach an agreement that will be the best for all.

"We will only focus on the game against Napoli."

Head coach Quique Setien said of Arthur: "I spoke with him before he left, the reality is that from then on I have not spoken to him again, what I have learned has been through the club. I would have liked it to be different, but I can't say anything else."

Barca held a two-point advantage at the top of LaLiga when the season was paused amid the coronavirus pandemic but ended up finishing five adrift of champions Real Madrid.

Captain Lionel Messi made it clear they needed to improve to have a chance of getting past Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli and held talks with Setien to clear the air ahead of the resumption of their European campaign.

Busquets said: "Everything that is discussed in the dressing room to improve is welcome. These weeks have been very good for us to train, to better plan the game tactically.

"We really want to be able to continue in this competition and be in the final eight, but first we have Napoli, who have a great coach and he's not going to make it easy for us."

It remains unclear whether Setien will still be at the helm for the start of the 2020-21 season, but Busquets believes it will be a positive sign for everyone at the club if he is retained.

"It's a decision for the club whether Setien continues or not," he said.

"If Setien continues it will be a good sign for everyone, but that should not worry us now."

What does the future hold for Quique Setien at Camp Nou?

Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in January, however, the ex-Real Betis head coach saw Barcelona dethroned as LaLiga champions by bitter rivals Real Madrid.

After leading Leeds United back to the Premier League, Marcelo Bielsa is reportedly wanted by countryman Lionel Messi.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI URGES BARCA TO SIGN BIELSA

Lionel Messi has called for Barcelona to replace Quique Setien with Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, according to The Sun.

Bielsa guided Leeds to the Premier League for the first time since 2004, ending the club's 16-year exile from England's top flight.

Now, superstar captain Messi – who is reportedly unhappy with Setien at Camp Nou – wants the dethroned LaLiga giants to bring the former Argentina and Athletic Bilbao head coach to Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City star James Maddison has agreed a contract extension at King Power Stadium, according to The Sun. Maddison has reportedly committed himself to Leicester until 2025 following previous links to Manchester United.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Inter are eyeing Barcelona's Junior Firpo if they are unable to sign Emerson Palmieri from Chelsea.

Tottenham are leading the chase to sign forward Callum Wilson if Bournemouth are relegated from the Premier League, says The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Milan and Napoli are considering moves for Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. The 19-year-old has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

Roma are considering a contract renewal for star Nicolo Zaniolo, according to Calciomercato. Zaniolo – who arrived from Inter in 2018 – has found his future in doubt amid talk of a falling out with head coach Paulo Fonseca and others. An Inter return has been touted, while Juventus are also reportedly interested.

- United are seriously targeting Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. Le10 Sport claims the Red Devils are making a last-minute attempt to sign Gabriel, who has been linked to Napoli among others.

- Kicker reports PSG are targeting Hertha Berlin attacker Matheus Cunha. Inter are also believed to be eyeing the Brazilian.

- Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman is on a shortlist of players United are eyeing on loan should they miss out on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, says Sky Sports News. Bayern, however, have no intention of parting with Coman. Liverpool and Real Madrid have also been credited with interest in Sancho.

Lionel Messi says the attitude shown by Barcelona in their 5-0 win over Deportivo Alaves on Sunday is the benchmark for next season. 

After proving unable to keep pace with Real Madrid since the resumption, Barca ultimately surrendered their LaLiga crown in midweek after an insipid 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna. 

They ended their domestic campaign in some style, though, Messi scoring twice and further goals from Ansu Fati, Luis Suarez and Nelson Semedo sealing the win. 

Messi was impressed by his team-mates' response and says the commitment shown on Sunday should be the bare minimum as they look to reclaim their title next season.

He told Movistar: "As coach (Quique Setien) said the other day, we have had some very good games, some very good moments. But we have to do that more consistently now. 

"Today, we saw something else. It was a difficult game to play and the team responded differently in attitude and commitment. It is a step forward for what is to come. 

"We did a lot of self-criticism and realised a lot of things. We didn't have a great season.  

"Today is a step forward in terms of attitude and commitment, which is what you always have to have. You have to at least match the attitude of any rival; if not more." 

While their domestic duties are done for 2019-20, Barca now switch their focus to the Champions League. They host Napoli in the second leg of their last-16 tie at Camp Nou on August 8.

Quique Setien expects to remain as Barcelona coach next season despite it looking unlikely he will guide them to LaLiga success.

Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in January and was appointed on a two-and-a-half-year deal, with his possession-based brand of football thought to be a good fit for the club after fans grew frustrated with his predecessor.

But the former Real Betis coach has not been able to inspire the kind of improvement some hoped for, while draws with Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid at the end of June look set to cost them in the title race.

Barca are four points adrift of Real Madrid, who will clinch the title on Thursday if they beat Villarreal at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

Club icon Xavi has been frequently linked with a return to Barca as coach, though Setien believes it will still be him at the helm next term.

"Of course, I see myself training Barca next season," he told reporters. "I have already experienced this before.

"The reality is that the expectations one has haven't been achieved, or not yet, but the work done is what must be valued.

"This is what I understand, or what I would like to see assessed. Of course, I think about next year's continuity."

Regarding the seemingly imminent confirmation of failure in LaLiga, he added: "I take my share of the responsibility, but not all of it.

"Making that assessment of finding a culprit always focuses on the coach. I don't feel that we did things so badly, drawing three games [since the resumption]. More merit should go to Madrid, who have won every game."

Luis Suarez has already effectively accepted defeat in the title race publicly, though Setien is retaining faith Madrid will slip up.

"That is his opinion. It is not yet [over] because anything can happen, but it is difficult," Setien continued.

"It requires a team that has won every game [since the season resumed] to lose. We have had three draws that make this difference.

"Obviously Madrid have done better because they have won all eight games. It is possible that a circumstance can arise [where Barca can win the title]. We will fight until the end."

Lionel Messi's comparative goals shortfall this season is not a concern for head coach Quique Setien, who swiftly pointed out the Barcelona superstar does more than just put the ball in the net.

Although Messi is the top goalscorer in LaLiga this term with 22, 2019-20 looks set to be his least prolific season for more than a decade.

With just two matches left of the league campaign, he is one shy of the 23 goals he registered in 2008-09 – his lowest LaLiga haul since is 26 in 2015-16, which he followed with totals of 37, 34 and 36 in the previous three seasons.

Few would begrudge Messi a slight decrease given this Barca side is arguably the weakest since the Argentina icon made his breakthrough, and he is 33 years old.

It was again put to Setien that Barca's talisman might be in need of a rest, and while he accepts that could be the case, he also reminded detractors that Messi does not just score – his 20 assists in LaLiga is nine more than anyone else in the division.

"Surely many players need to rest. The records are the same, but everyone is losing that clarity of expression," he said ahead of Wednesday's visit of Osasuna. "We have already talked a lot about this topic.

"I see him [Messi] well. It is true that there may be some records that he does not meet when compared to other years.

"[But] we all know who Messi is, if he's not [contributing] with goals, he is with assists. All I can say about him I have already said."

The absence of Frenkie de Jong has not helped Barca in recent weeks, with the Dutchman missing seven matches due to a calf injury, though he looks set to return against Osasuna.

"He has done several training sessions with the group, he is in a good frame of mind, with the problem almost forgotten," Setien added. "We will see if he starts tomorrow or starts on the bench. He is at the team's disposal, of course."

Setien also effectively confirmed Juventus-bound Arthur will only be used if absolutely necessary, with the Brazil international's €82million transfer already confirmed.

"He has returned to the team and is training. He will have an option to play if it's essential and necessary," Setien said.

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