Barcelona president Joan Laporta made an astonishing bid to bring Pep Guardiola back to the club ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, according to reports in Spain.
But Guardiola rejected the chance to return to his homeland and instead told the Blaugrana who to appoint next.
Laporta is known to have reservations about current Barca boss Ronald Koeman, who was appointed by previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu and led the club to a disappointing third-place finish in La Liga last season.
After much deliberating, the Camp Nou supremo decided Koeman could see out the second and final year of his contract with another season at the helm.
But Laporta has already turned his attention to who will succeed the Dutchman in 2022 – and approached Guardiola with the offer of a sensational return.
That’s according to Catalan outlet Esport3 , which claims the Manchester City manager turned down his old friend, having signed a new deal at the Etihad last season which runs until 2023.
Laporta was the man who oversaw Guardiola’s meteoric rise to becoming one of the finest coaches in the world during his first stint as president, between 2003 and 2010.
The Spaniard made the bold decision to promote his compatriot from Barcelona B boss to the Camp Nou hot seat in 2008, with Guardiola going on to win a historic sextuple the following year.
Many more trophies followed before Guardiola stepped down to take a sabbatical in 2012, while he has been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona throughout his subsequent spells with Bayern Munich and City.
The report adds that when Laporta pitched his idea, Guardiola praised him for giving Koeman another chance after the coronavirus-impacted season.
The 50-year-old is also believed to have recommended the club turn to Spain boss Luis Enrique as their future replacement for Koeman.
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Enrique led the Catalan giants between 2014 and 2017, winning the treble in 2015, and he has steered Spain to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
Before any appointment can be made, Barcelona must focus on improving on last season’s disappointing La Liga and Champions League campaigns under Koeman.
Laporta confirmed the former Southampton and Everton boss would stay on earlier this month, saying: “After this period of reflection, vice-president Rafael Yuste and myself have agreed that we will continue with the current contract that Ronald Koeman has.”
He added: “We are very satisfied to see that these conversations have resulted in a unity of opinion.
“We see the coach very motivated and he already has a year of experience in this dressing room, which we will try to make more competitive. I think Koeman comes out on top because he is the coach we want.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona have already been active in the transfer market by snapping up Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay on free transfers, as well as signing Emerson Royal.