Al Sadd has agreed to release former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez with the Spaniard set to take over as head coach of his former club following the sacking of Ronald Koeman, the Qatari club said Friday.
"Xavi informed us a few days ago of his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time, because of the critical stage his hometown club is going through, and we understand this and decided not to stand in his way," Al Sadd CEO Turki al-Ali said in a statement
Hernandez said a return to Barcelona would be "spectacular and exciting" as he confirmed Wednesday that he is in negotiations to become his former club's new coach. Barcelona officials Rafa Yuste and Mateu Alemany traveled to Doha on Tuesday to try to negotiate Xavi's release from the Qatari club and met with the former midfielder's agents on Wednesday.
Barca is looking to replace Dutchman Koeman who was sacked last week following a poor start to the campaign.
"The clubs are talking. Can't say much but I'm a positive person. It's about common sense. They need to reach an agreement. That's the issue," Xavi told reporters after his team's 3-3 draw with Al-Duhail in the Qatari league on Wednesday. "I have been talking to Barca for days, it's all set. The clubs know my position and I hope it gets resolved soon. "I wish I go back home. Going back to Barcelona would be spectacular and exciting," Xavi said before adding that he was going out for dinner with Al Sadd and Barcelona officials.
Earlier on Wednesday, Al Sadd appeared unwilling to let their manager leave. "We welcome the visit of the administrative delegation from Barcelona, and we appreciate and respect this," al-Ali said in a social media statement on Al Sadd's official Twitter account. "The club's position is clear from the beginning - we are committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us and we cannot have him leave at this sensitive time of the season."
Spanish media reported that Xavi, who enjoyed an illustrious career with Barcelona from 1998-2015, has a release clause of 10 million euros ($11.6 million).
Barcelona sacked Koeman after a dismal start to the season. The club, which is ninth in LaLiga, is currently under the guidance of caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan.