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Xavi: Barcelona manager job would be 'spectacular' but no agreement yet

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A Barcelona delegation has travelled to Qatar to finalise an agreement for Al Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez to take over at Camp Nou.

Xavi said on Wednesday after coaching his team to a 3-3 draw against Al-Duhail that a return to Barcelona was "common sense" as negotiations continue.

"It's a question of common sense and in the end it has to happen. I am excited. I'm really looking forward to returning home. I hope it happens. It would be spectacular to coach Barca," Xavi said. "The two clubs are in conversations. I can't say a lot more but I'm a positive person. They have to reach an agreement. That's where it's at. The two clubs know my position and I hope there is a solution soon.

Vice president Rafa Yuste and director of football Mateu Alemany flew to Doha after Tuesday's Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev, and sources told ESPN that Barca hope to announce Xavi as Ronald Koeman's successor before the end of the week.

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Yuste and Alemany took in Al Sadd's top-of-the-table clash against Al-Duhail on Wednesday before sitting down with the Qatari club to discuss bringing the former Barca midfielder back to LaLiga.

Negotiations with Xavi over personal terms are already advanced, but because he has two years to run on his contract with Al Sadd, the two clubs still need to reach an agreement.

Al-Sadd said later on Wednesday that they are not willing to let Xavi leave despite interest from Barcelona, according to the Qatari club's CEO Turki Al-Ali.

"We welcome the visit of the administrative delegation from Barcelona, and we appreciate and respect this," Al-Ali said in a social media statement on Al-Sadd's official Twitter account.

"The club's position is clear from the beginning -- we are committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us and we cannot have him leave at this sensitive time of the season."

Xavi, 41, likely will be tasked with breathing life into a struggling Barcelona side. They are winless in three league games and sit ninth in the table, although Tuesday's result in Kiev means they can book their place in the round of 16 of the Champions League with a win against Benfica on Nov. 23.

Interim coach Sergi Barjuan is expected to remain in charge for Saturday's match at Celta Vigo, with Xavi then taking over after the international break. His first game likely will be against rivals Espanyol on Nov. 20 at Camp Nou.

Xavi quickly emerged as the favourite to take over last week when Koeman was sacked following the surprise 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano.

Barca president Joan Laporta has said there were "other options" on the table, too, but sources told ESPN that Xavi was the No.1 candidate to fill the vacancy from the off.

The ex-Spain international left Barca for Al Sadd in 2015 after spending 24 years at the Catalan club, during which time he made 767 first-team appearances, a figure bettered by only Lionel Messi.

Xavi spent four years as a player in Qatar before beginning his coaching career in 2019. He has already won seven trophies as Al Sadd manager, and his team are unbeaten in 36 league games spanning two seasons.

Laporta had previously said that he didn't think Xavi was ready to take over at Barca yet, but the club's deteriorating results forced him to change his mind.

Speaking after dismissing Koeman, the president said he had "very good references" about Xavi as a coach and that he had already spoken to him about how Barca can improve.

Xavi, meanwhile, previously turned the job down when it was offered to him by the previous president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, at the start of 2020. Almost two years later, though, sources told ESPN he is now keen to return home.