Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has reportedly travelled to Argentina to finalise the appointment of Gerardo Martino as coach.
According to EuroSport, Barca are in the market for a new coach after Tito Vilanova, 44, stepped down to continue treatment for throat cancer. Martino, 50, led Newell’s Old Boys boss to the Argentine Clausura title last year and recently left the club. He has been heavily linked with succeeding Vilanova, with Ole stating over the weekend that the Blaugrana director would travel to Buenos Aires for negotiations.
Eurosport Spain and other Spanish media sources have since reported that a three-year deal has been agreed and that the appointment will be confirmed in a matter of hours.
Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has praised Martino, telling Ole: “I like ‘Tata’ Martino. He is a great coach and he showed that in the Clausura with what he did for the team, the way it ended and how he did it.
“He gets his teams playing well and we all respect him.”
Former Barca playing hero and ‘B’ team boss Luis Enrique, now in charge at Celta Vigo, was joint favourite for the job over the weekend, while Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas has also been linked with the Catalan giants.
Earlier on Monday Guus Hiddink was briefly made odds-on favourite after announcing his resignation from Anzhi Makhachkala, but that now seems to have been mere coincidence as Barca look to close on Martino.