Ronald Koeman has agreed in principle to become Barcelona manager and club president Josep Bartomeu says he expects the Dutchman to be in charge next season.
Quique Setien was sacked in a meeting with technical director Eric Abidal – who himself left the club on Tuesday – just days after the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
In an interview on the club’s website on Tuesday, Bartomeu said: “If nothing goes wrong, Koeman will be Barca’s coach next season.
“We already know how he thinks and his philosophy.”
Koeman, the Netherlands head coach, was first contacted by Barcelona about becoming head coach at the beginning of the year, with Bartomeu adding: “We bet on him. He was the first one we called in January. It’s a dream for him.”
Barca officials are in talks with the Dutch FA over compensation for Koeman, who played for the Catalan club between 1989 and 1995.
He was a member of Johan Cruyff’s hugely successful side, known as the ‘Dream Team’, and scored the only goal of the game against Sampdoria in the 1992 European Cup final.
Bartomeu added: “As he was in Johan’s ‘Dream Team’, he knows Barca and how we understand football.”
Asked whether he would like to return to Barcelona, Koeman told reporters outside the Dutch Football Federation headquarters on Tuesday: “Yes, I’d like to, but it will only be confirmed once I have signed the contract.
“Until then, I cannot say any more about it – even though I’d like to.”
In the wake of the heavy defeat to Bayern, there has been speculation that Barca icon Lionel Messi might end his long stint with the club, but Koeman wants the Argentine to stay.
Bartomeu said: “I have spoken with Koeman and the pillar of our project is Messi. He has a contract until 2021.
“I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his father.
“He is number one in the world. There is no doubt that in Koeman’s new project you can count on Messi.”
Former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho has spent the season on loan from Barca at Bayern Munich – and came off the bench to score twice against his parent club on Friday.
The Brazilian has been linked with a possible return to the Premier League but Bartomeu says his Barca stint is not necessarily over.
“The head coach will make the decision,” said Bartomeu.
“If he wants him to continue, next year he will play with us.”