While Barcelona were attempting to negotiate a contract settlement with Louis van Gaal, the search had already begun for a successor with former Atletico Madrid coach Radomir Antic tipped to lead the club through to the end of the season.

The club outfit did not confirm the sacking of van Gaal, but were locked in talks with the Dutchman to negotiate an amicable parting of the ways. A pay-off in the region of £2.5 million is believed to be the figure van Gaal is prepared to accept to bring ghis second spell at the Nou Camp to an end.

‘The board has agreed to attempt to reach an amicable resolution to the club’s relationship with van Gaal,’ the club’s general manager Xavier Perez Farguell told reporters after Monday’s meeting.

‘I hope to be able to offer fuller details of the negotiations, which should not take long, in the next few hours.’

Another alternative to Antic is Carles Rexach, the coach replaced by van Gaal before the start of the season, who could be asked to return to the helm on a caretaker basis.

Gaspart called the meeting with his directors after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Celta left the team 20 points behind leaders Real Sociedad and on course for their worst-ever league finish. Barcelona have never finished lower than 12th in the league and have never failed to qualify for European competition.