Ernesto Valverde appointed Barcelona head coach

He replaces Luis Enrique, who revealed in March that he would leave the club - who finished second in La Liga - at the end of his three-year contract.

A former forward, the 53-year-old Valverde played two seasons with Barcelona in the late 1980s and was coached by Johan Cruyff, the Dutch great who gave Barcelona its winning identity.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said last week the club would announce Luis Enrique's successor on 29 May, and the Catalan giants have called a press conference for 1900 local time.

Departing Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has been avoiding talk about a possible move to Barcelona, saying he has not entered into negotiations with any club.

Now Valverde will be charged with turning things around at the Camp Nou.

Can Valverde revive Barca youth policy?

Valverde, previously Athletic Club Bilbao coach, will be presented on Thursday, along with his assistant Jon Aspiazu and former blaugrana José Antonio Pozanco who will be the fitness coach.

It may seem a tempting venture to move to Barcelona, but Herrera is understood to be happy and content at the club, and will be looking to challenge for the league title next year after winning three trophies this season.

Valverde did coach Herrera from 2013-14 at Bilbao, but that's just one connection.

"He is a hard worker and he is a fan of using technology in training and in managing matches. Valverde's arrival could be vital for a complicated (but financially viable) operation", Lluís Miguelsanz said in his report for Sport.

Since then he has coached Athletic's reserve side, had two spells in charge of the first team at San Mames, as well as stints at Espanyol, Olympiacos, Villarreal and Valencia.

Valverde is no stranger to Barcelona, having played there from 1988-1990, but this will be his biggest managerial post by a long shot.

"Yesterday [Tuesday] morning we were devastated", the Spaniard admitted. "We were really sad because when you think about life and football, you have no voice".

  • Julie Sanders