Vilanova contract 'proves Barca backing'

Barcelona's manager-in-waiting Tito Vilanova signed a two-year contract in order to snuff out speculation that he was a short-term appointment, according to reports in Spain.


Currently Barcelona assistant manager, Vilanova’s decision is in contrast to predecessor Pep Guardiola, who worked on one-year rolling deals. Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo said the move offered stability.

A surprise choice for many, the 42-year-old ex-midfielder will have to contest with rumours that he is simply holding the fort until a more high-profile option such as Frank de Boer, Luis Enrique or even current player Xavi is ready for the top job.

Vilanova was also reportedly keen to secure enough time to rejuvenate a squad that has slipped behind Real Madrid in recent months, although given the personnel he has at his disposal it should not be too difficult.

Guardiola always said he planned over two-year periods but would sign short-term contracts in order to give both him and the club flexibility - a flexibility he has chosen to use in quitting this summer.

Vilanova could well be just protecting himself though - unlike Guardiola he did not have an illustrious playing career and would have earned significantly less plying his trade in Spain’s lower leagues.

Either way, he is sending out a signal that he is the long-term choice, the main man, and that he will have full control over playing affairs.

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