Former Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is reportedly on Manchester United’s five-man shortlist for the position of interim manager.
He has been out of football since being dismissed by Barca in January 2020. Valverde won two La Liga titles at the Nou Camp.
United fans looking to find out more about the potential new man in the dugout may want to look back to an interview the Spaniard did with the Guardian back in June.
He mentioned that he could be tempted by English football, having only managed in Spain and Greece so far.
“If there is something that motivates me, yeah, I could be tempted,” replied Valverde when asked if he would return to football at some point.
“Things have come up that I turned down. The idea of going abroad is attractive; something different.”
When asked whether coming to England is something which appeals, he said: “Could be. I wouldn’t mind trying it. You get the feeling that there’s a respect there for what the game is.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Valverde offered an insight into how he views the pressure of working at a huge football club such as Barcelona – or indeed United.
The wheels were set in motion for Valverde’s eventual departure when his side lost 4-0 at Anfield in the second leg of their 2019 Champions League semi-final.
“Football has become this thing we all live off and through. It’s a show, this great drama, the intrigue. Is this coach going? Will that player be dropped? And that’s despite not knowing the half of it.
“You get this idea: ‘It’s the end of the world if we don’t win this weekend.’ And you don’t win and on Monday, life goes on. It’s this incredible crisis, a real mess. Don’t worry, there’ll be another one along to cover this one.
“The week after, another. You get to the end of the season and it’s the final judgment. But then: cut it off, chuck earth over it and another season starts. Tomorrow the sun rises. A new season, hope, excitement, and all that.”
Obviously, we’re looking back at words Valverde said when the United job was not on the horizon and trying to read into how it could apply to the current situation.
But what he said paints a picture of a man who certainly is not adverse to the idea of managing in English football, and is calm in a crisis.
If he does come to Old Trafford, it will not be all plain sailing and he will likely be in the unconventional position of knowing the plan is for him to depart at the end of the season.
It will take a certain type of character to deal with that, and while it remains to be seen if he is the club’s top interim choice – or whether they press ahead with pursuing Mauricio Pochettino – Valverde seemingly could.
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