Barcelona chief Deco rules out move for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta | Football

The Spanish coach appears to be out of Barca’s reach (Pictures: Getty / Què t’hi Jugues)

Barcelona sporting director Deco has suggested Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is not a realistic managerial target and insists the club have yet to speak to any prospective candidates.

The Catalan giants are currently in second place in La Liga and face PSG in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, though Xavi has elected to walk away from the club at the end of the season.

Deco, alongside president Joan Laporta, will be in charge of finding a successor and they have been linked with a host of names since Xavi announced his decision in January.

One of the main contenders in the frame is Arteta, who came through the academy at Barca and has guided Arsenal to top spot in the Premier League, while PSG boss Luis Enrique is believed to be favoured by Deco.

While the former Portugal international could not hide his admiration for Luis Enrique, he distanced Barcelona from a move for Arteta and feels he is one of several coaches that are out of the club’s reach.

Asked about the hunt for a new manager in an interview with SER Catalunya’s Que t’hi Jugues show, Deco said: ‘Nothing has been decided yet, but we are attentive.

‘Of course I am charmed by Luis Enrique, he is a top coach.

‘Obviously you can appreciate top managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp as well, but they are not available. Just like Mikel Arteta, Andoni Iraola and Sergio Conceicao too.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Barcelona's Xavi

Xavi is stepping down as Barca boss at the end of the season (Picture: Getty)

‘We haven’t spoken with them at all and it’s pointless to mention them. We’re not speaking to any manager yet.’

Xavi, meanwhile, has been steadfast in his stance that he will not change his mind about leaving Barcelona even if the side were to go on to win both La Liga and the Champions League.

There had been suggestions that Xavi might be persuaded into a rethink if certain conditions were met and Deco has intimated he would happily see the 44-year-old continue in the role – but he must make the first move.

‘I didn’t want him to say he was leaving, but he made his decision,’ Deco explained.

‘I already said that Xavi’s time had not yet changed, there are still things to fight for. In football everything changes overnight. In every match preview they ask me if Xavi is staying or not.

‘Xavi continues to tell us that his decision is irreversible. If Xavi changes his mind he has to tell us. For us he is an ideal coach, always positive, never complains, he knows the club’s difficulties. History will say that he rebuilt Barca.’

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