Xavi has already made Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe feelings clear amid Barcelona rumours

Liverpool front line compared to 'raptors' by assistant

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After Barcelona sacked Ronald Koeman on Wednesday, Xavi is expected to replace him as manager at Camp Nou. But there are two marquee names he isn’t likely to target following criticism three years ago – PSG forward Kylian Mbappe and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

Barcelona are slumped in ninth in La Liga, six points behind leaders Real Madrid after 10 games.

The Blaugrana have announced Sergi Barjuan as new interim coach and are in the process of securing Xavi as permanent boss.

Fabrizio Romano reports Barca will appoint Xavi ‘as soon as possible’, once an agreement has been reached with Al-Saad to terminate his contract.

There will soon be speculation over which players Xavi will look to sign to begin his era at the helm, but Mbappe and Pogba aren’t likely to be mentioned.

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In 2018, Xavi discussed the French duo after their unconvincing World Cup win against Austria.

The Spanish legend suggested that while Mbappe boasted great potential, he, similarly to Pogba, was overrated due to his physical traits.

He told Journal du Dimanche: “He [Mbappe] is a formidable 19-year-old striker, who has shown great things to PSG and will continue to improve.

“Mbappe will be one of the cracks of tomorrow. But I find him more physical than talented, like Pogba I think, even if I have not seen him play this season.”

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In a separate 2018 interview, Xavi doubted Mbappe’s football brain and backed Neymar to go down as the player closest to Lionel Messi’s level.

“He’s [Mbappe’s] a very superior player physically. It’s impressive that at his age, he has those differences, but he could also get stuck. It’s very difficult to predict,” Xavi explained to Catalunya Radio.

“He still has no football maturity but, he could be one of the good ones. He is so strong, but that does not always work in elite football. He has to learn to think.

“Neymar is the player that I have seen, if he manages to acquire that maturity, that might be more like Messi.”

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Mbappe and Pogba have both been linked with Barcelona in recent weeks, despite the club’s dire financial situation.

But the former is expected to join Spanish rivals Real Madrid on a free transfer at the end of the season.

And while Pogba will also be a free agent, it’s unlikely he’d want to make Barcelona the potentially final big move of his career, given the club’s current state.

Xavi’s arrival will excite fans, though, and there will be mass hope of improvements to come.

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