A man who enjoyed iconic stints at Camp Nou as a player and coach could return to his roots in Catalunya, claims the Blaugrana’s president
Pep Guardiola has been told that “the door will always be open for him” at Barcelona, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu refusing to rule out another return to his roots for the Catalan.
The current Manchester City boss emerged out of a fabled youth system at Camp Nou to become a senior star in his playing days.
He headed back to familiar surroundings in order to cut his coaching teeth, before going on to land the top job and overseeing a trophy-laden era of ‘tiki-taka’ football with Lionel Messi and Co.
Guardiola has given cryptic responses when quizzed on a second spell in Barca’s dugout, while those at the Liga champions have always made it clear that they would welcome him back with open arms.
Bartomeu has now reiterated that stance, telling La Repubblica: “It doesn’t depend on me.
“It was Pep who decided to leave, but the door will always be open for him at Barca.”
For now, Ernesto Valverde is calling the shots at Camp Nou.
He has seen questions asked of his future, but is tied to a contract through to the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
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Bartomeu is not expecting Valverde’s ranks to be bolstered in the January transfer window, while talk of Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal heading to pastures news – amid reports of interest from Serie A giants Inter – has been played down.
“We don’t expect much movement (in January),” said Bartomeu.
“We have a balanced team, we don’t need anything, but we can’t afford to lose anyone either.”
It has been suggested that Barca may be willing to do business with Inter in an effort to build bridges between the two clubs before a move to lure Lautaro Martinez away from San Siro is made.
Bartomeu insists there are no immediate plans to launch a raid for the Argentina international, but has admitted to being a fan of the in-form 22-year-old forward.
He said when quizzed on the South American: “That’s a trick question!
“The only thing I can say is that Inter are playing really well and he’s not the only one who’s impressed me. It’s no coincidence they’re top of Serie A.”
Barca are due to face Lautaro, Romelu Lukaku and Co on Tuesday when they take in a Champions League trip to Milan.