Next Barcelona manager: Iraola going ‘day by day’ with owner Foley set to watch Luton v Bournemouth

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Andoni Iraola has said he does not want to “talk too much about the future” after the Bournemouth manager was surprisingly namechecked by Barcelona sporting director Deco as a figure the club are monitoring in their search for a new manager.

In an interview on Spanish radio last month (via Football Espana), Deco cited Iraola as a “top coach” alongside the likes of Paris Saint-Germain’s Luis Enrique and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, with the reigning Liga Champions preparing for Xavi’s expected exit at the end of the season.

“Sometimes you have to talk about other things but I don’t like to talk too much about the future,” Iraola said, speaking about Bill Foley’s current trip to the UK which has allowed the Bournemouth owner to watch the Cherries beat Everton and Crystal Palace before their trip to Luton Town on Saturday.

“Our job is to go day by day – this is sport. I’m sure the club is talking to him and Simon [Francis, technical director] is talking about next season and preparing everything.

“But as a coach, I’m really focused on today and tomorrow: the Luton game, the next game.”

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Having left Rayo Vallecano after turning down a new deal, Iraola succeeded the sacked Gary O’Neil at the Vitality Stadium in June 2023 on a two-year contract.

The former Spain defender had a tough start, going nine matches without a win in his first role in England at the helm of a side who spent three consecutive matchdays in the relegation zone from the end of September.

Their nine subsequent games featured seven wins, with their only defeat coming at Premier League title holders Manchester City.

Luton v Bournemouth: Cherries in form

Bournemouth’s 1-0 win over Palace on Tuesday was their fourth of a five-match unbeaten run which has lifted them to 11th – four points behind seventh-placed West Ham with a game in hand.

Barca remain “attentive” to the Basque boss’s progress at Bournemouth, according to a report by Sport on Wednesday.

Foley, too, will have been impressed. “It’s good that he has been here for the last two games and we won,” said Iraola.

“I think he was also thinking of travelling to Luton. I don’t know if he will but it seems like he’s enjoying it here.”

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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