After months of worry, confusion, speculation, and panic, it finally looks like there is some clarity on the future of Ernesto Valverde. The Athletic manager has long been linked with the upcoming vacancy at FC Barcelona with Luis Enrique leaving at the end of the season. Assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue has also been in the running, but Barcelona may have already made their decision. With just a few weeks left in the campaign, it appears as though Valverde has decided to accept the Barcelona job.
According to numerous reports in Catalonia, including several well-respected outlets, Valverde will be announced as the new Barcelona manager on 31 May or 1 June and he will sign a two-year contract with the Blaugrana.
Valverde has refused to answer questions about the vacancy and rumors linking him to the job, going as far to say that he will not even think about his future until the season officially ends. However, some sources say his representatives have been handing things behind the scenes. If one thing is certain, it is that Valverde will only be leaving Athletic Club because he believes he has taken the team as far as he can. Txingurri has always believed that managers who stay in one place for too long will stagnate and fail to get the best out of the team.
If Ernesto Valverde does indeed make his exit next month he will walk away as the manager who has overseen the most games in Athletic Club history. He has also had the Lions in European competition every season since taking over back in 2013, including qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in 16 years in his first season back in Bilbao. He is a living legend at Athletic Club and fans will be sad to see him leave the San Mames. Bilbao Athletic manager Cuco Ziganda is expected to take his place in charge of the first team.