Barcelona have issued an official statement denying media reports that they have opened talks with Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde.
On Friday, Catalan broascaster TV3 claimed that the La Liga champions had made contact with their former player in relation to the soon-to-be vacated manager’s position.
“FC Barcelona strongly deny asking Athletic to negotiate with their Coach, Ernesto Valverde, as reported by TV3 this afternoon,” the statement, which was published on the club’s official website, read.
“Likewise, the club deny that their technical secretary, Robert Fernandez, has contacted Valverde in recent days to negotiate [the Coach’s] arrival at Barcelona,” it continued.
Valverde is one of a number of Spanish coaches linked with the position after Luis Enriques said that he will be vacating at the end of the season, with Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli also denying reports that Barca have been in contact.
Valverde, a former striker who spent two years as a player at Barcelona, has been at the helm at Los Leones since 2013, a time in which the club’s league form has seen a significant improvement.
2015 also saw Valverde inflict a rare 2015 Supercopa de España defeat on Barca, beating them 5 – 1 on aggregate to lift the trophy.