Report: Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde favourite for Barcelona job

Ernesto Valverde head coach of Athletic Bilbao during the first leg of UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs round match between SSC Napoli and Athletic Club on August 19, 2014
© Getty Images
Athletic Bilbao head coach Ernesto Valverde is back in pole position for the Barcelona job, according to reports.

Athletic Bilbao head coach Ernesto Valverde has moved back into pole position for the Barcelona job, according to reports.

The Blaugrana will lose incumbent manager Luis Enrique at the end of the season, and the Athletic boss is tipped by many to be favourite for the Camp Nou reins.

It had also been suggested that current Barca assistant manager Juan Carlos Unzue was in the running for a promotion, but Marca believes that the 3-0 defeat to Juventus in midweek has convinced the club's board to discard him as an option.

The Spanish outlet's report goes on to say that the Barca board was unconvinced by a series of lacklustre team performances this season, citing their 2-0 defeat at Malaga as another example, and hold Unzue partly responsible.

Valverde's Bilbao contract will also expire at the end of the season.

Athletic's head coach Ernesto Valverde gestures during the UEFA Europa League Group L football match between Partizan and Athletic Bilbao at the FK Partizan Stadium on October 22, 2015
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1Real Madrid11003033
2Barcelona11002023
3Real Sociedad11003213
4EibarEibar11001013
5Leganes11001013
6Levante11001013
7Valencia11001013
8Atletico MadridAtletico10102201
9GironaGirona10102201
10Espanyol10101101
11Sevilla10101101
12Athletic Bilbao10100001
13Getafe10100001
14Celta Vigo100123-10
15AlavesAlaves100101-10
16Las PalmasLas Palmas100101-10
17Malaga100101-10
18Villarreal100101-10
19Real Betis100102-20
20Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo100103-30