Former Spain defender Quique Costas is ready to take over as caretaker coach of Barcelona if the Catalans lose to Celta in Vigo at the weekend.

Costas, coaching assistant to Louis Van Gaal, has been placed on standby in case the controversial Dutchman is dismissed. Barcelona directors, led reluctantly by club president Joan Gaspart, are considering final details of a settlement package to be put to Van Gaal in case of defeat in Balaidos.

Gaspart, under heavy criticism himself, can buy time by replacing Van Gaal despite Barcelona’s record-equalling 100 per cent run in the Champions League.

Former Barcelona favourite Bernd Schuster remains long-term favourite to succeed Van Gaal. Schuster, currently in charge of second division Jerez, said again today that he had not received a formal approach from Barcelona. He did concede, however, that he had discussed the possibility with Jerez directors. Schuster’s wife Gaby, who is also his agent, refused all comment on the issue.
By Keir Radnedge