Ernesto Valverde's future 'could be revealed on Thursday' amid Barcelona and Arsenal links

Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal
Ernesto Valverde

Athletic Club Bilbao president Josu Urrutia is reportedly expected to provide some clarity on the uncertain future of Ernesto Valverde on Thursday, 4 May, amid recurrent reports linking the Spanish boss with Barcelona and Arsenal.

Valverde, 53, has been seen as the main candidate to replace Luis Enrique at Barcelona ahead of the 2017-2018 campaign since earlier on March the current boss announced he will leave his position once his contract expires in the summer.

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The former Olympiacos, Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia manager has since failed to diminish speculation after refusing to confirm whether he will continue at Athletic beyond the end of the current campaign – as his contract is set to expire in the summer.

Marca reported earlier last month that Barcelona could face competition from Arsenal as the Athletic boss had received a phone call on behalf of the Gunners amid the uncertain Arsene Wenger's future at the Emirates Stadium.

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Last week the Spanish publication added that Arsenal had made Valverde a second phone call to know his intentions ahead of the coming campaign.

Valverde has been coy in the press conference when asked about the possibility of making a step forward to either Barcelona or Arsenal, assuring that he is yet to decide his future as he is only focused on helping Athletic to end the campaign in the best possible way.

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But AS and Mundo Deportivo believes that Athletic Bilbao president Urrutia could announce Valverde's decision this week after the club had called a press conference on Thursday.

Athletic have failed to reveal the intentions of the press conference but it is understands that the president will make a review of the season and that the future of the manager will be on the agenda.

Nevertheless, Urrutia is yet to speak since earlier on March he admitted that Valverde could put an end to his spell at Athletic in the coming summer.

"Ernesto has been with us for four years," Urrutia then said to the Athletic official website. "He came to the club with a two-year deal and then we had a conversation to renew him for a third year. We had another meeting at this point last year to extend it for a fourth year and now we have to have another conversation to see how he is and if we understand that he is the best manager ahead of next season.

"Now, Ernesto is focused in the team to help them to continue to perform at this level (until the end of the season). When he have clear that Ernesto is the right coach to stay here next year, if he sees himself here and if we consider that he is (mentally) ready to continue, we will make it public and we will see if Ernesto is our coach next season or is someone else."

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