Barcelona official Manel Arroyo has moved quickly to deny that current coach Gerardo Martino will be leaving the club in the near future.
ESPN FC reports that Arroyo, vice president in charge of the Catalan giant's media and communications, has denied that Martino has informed the club of his plans to make an exit from the Camp Nou.
Arroyo reacted to claims emerging in Spain, according to the ESPN report, commenting:
We have no record of this. Tata has a contract with the club and is dedicated this week to what's important.
The question over his future is a recurring one but it is not a topic for today. It's not something we have on the table. We can see he is focused on the sporting concerns of the first team, that is what he's concerned with.
The media have linked both Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers to the Barcelona job, should Martino resign or be sacked.
But Bates quoted the Liverpool manager saying:
I am happy here. It is an incredible club—I love being the manager here.
I haven’t got an agent so I don’t have someone pumping stories out there about me not being happy. There will be plenty of time, come the end of the season, to sit down and talk about a new deal.
ESPN football writer Miguel Delaney recently tweeted Wenger's reaction to being linked to the Barcelona hot seat:
Wenger on Catalan suggestions he's on Barcelona shortlist: "My commitment is here and nowhere else", but no developments on new contract.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) March 14, 2014
Both Wenger's and Rodgers' successes this season make them prime candidates for Barcelona should Martino be moved on. However, it is unlikely that either coach would want to leave his club after good 2013-14 campaigns.
With Wenger, his commitment to Arsenal is solid and he has stuck with the club through harder times, when it would have been easier to jump ship. This has been reciprocated by the Arsenal board, who gave him the massive funds needed to tempt Mesut Ozil to the Gunners last summer.
Rodgers is also openly committed to Liverpool, as Wenger is to the North London club. But Rodgers' contract could become an issue for the Merseyside team unless addressed quickly.
Who is more likely to be the next coach of Barcelona?
The chance to work with a player of Lionel Messi's calibre would be tempting for a coach of Rodgers' mindset, and it would likely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
If Liverpool do not secure Rodgers by giving him a huge new contract, then there will surely be movement from many of the top clubs in Europe.
His success with his current squad has been phenomenal and he has proved he can get the best from a world-class talent like Luis Suarez.
For now, Martino retains Barca's trust, but the figures of Wenger and Rodgers will only increase the pressure on the Argentinian ahead of El Clasico.