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Barcelona keeping focus on Copa amid Ernesto Valverde rumours - sources

Luis Enrique isn't giving up on Barca's double dream, as the club are in the La Liga title race and Copa del Rey final.
Luis Enrique is confident that Barcelona can still win the La Liga title, despite being level on points with Real Madrid who have a game in hand.

There will be no announcement on Luis Enrique's successor at Barcelona until after the Copa del Rey final, sources have told ESPN FC.

The news comes despite reports by RAC1 and Radio Kanal Barcelona that a two-year deal had been finalised for Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde to take over.

Radio Kanal Barcelona journalist Marcal Lorente said Barca had agreed to include a clause in the pre-agreement to compensate Valverde in the event that the appointment did not go though.

However, sources said the club have denied any significant movement and are sticking to the line that they want to focus on finishing the league season well and winning the Copa del Rey.

Valverde is out of contract at Athletic in the summer and has not committed his future to the club. He remains the favourite for the Barcelona job.

Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez is in charge of drawing up a list of candidates to present to president Josep Maria Bartomeu and said at the end of April the club are in no rush.

"The most important thing right now is to finish the season well," he said. "I want Luis Enrique to go out as a league and cup champion.

"We don't want to divert attention away from that. We don't know who it will be yet and we're not in a rush. When we have to make a decision, we will make one."

Barcelona are reported to have agreed a deal with Ernesto Valverde.

Speaking more recently, vice president Jordi Mestre said: "We won't communicate anything until the end of the season out of respect for Luis Enrique.

"All I can say is that we have decided on the profile [the manager] must have. We have a clear idea about how the new Barcelona coach needs to be."

Barca finish the Liga season at Camp Nou against Eibar this weekend, but a win will only help them clinch the title if Real Madrid pick up three points or fewer from their final two games.

They then face Alaves in the Copa del Rey final in Luis Enrique's last match in charge.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


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