Barcelona's Ariedo Braida coy on Max Allegri as Luis Enrique replacement

Barcelona director Ariedo Braida said the search for Luis Enrique's replacement is "top secret" and wouldn't confirm whether Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is a candidate.

Luis Enrique announced last week he would leave Barca when his contract expires in June. Allegri is one of a number of managers to have been linked with the post since then, although Athletic Bilbao's Ernesto Valverde and Sevilla's Jorge Sampaoli are the early front runners.

Braida worked with Allegri during his time at AC Milan and did little to play down reports that the Italian coach could be an outside bet to take over at Camp Nou.

"Allegri is a friend and we know each other very well, but it's really not something we can talk about," he told Italy's Radioanch'io Sport. "It's all top secret.

"There's a different name coming out every day in the Spanish media, from Valverde to Sampaoli, from [Ronald] Koeman to Eusebio [Sacristan], who is coach of Real Sociedad and is a part of the Barcelona family. Everything is possible. It's something I would prefer not to talk about."

Barca's sporting director, Robert Fernandez, has suggested a manager with a link to the Catalan club would be favoured. That would push Valverde, Koeman and Eusebio to the front of the queue.

"We have time to look over all the possibilities that exist and we will do the work that we have to do," Fernandez said in an interview with Esport3.

"It would be good if the future manager knows the club, of course. [Managing Barca] is a very special position in terms of understanding the football and the methodology."

However, he was keen to nuance that didn't mean managers with no inside experience, like Allegri and Sampaoli, would be ruled out.

"I don't think that's what I said and if I did, that's not the case," he added. "We won't rule out anyone just because they haven't had a connection with the club."

Barca have time on their side in their search for a new manager and, as well as being grateful for the timing of Luis Enrique's announcement, Braida is now hoping that his departure will not affect the security at the club.

"Luis Enrique made this announcement very early probably to give the club the time to find a replacement," Braida said.

"He's a really great coach and has a philosophy that is a bit of Barcelona and a bit of those who have preceded him. He is [doing] a great job and I am sorry to lose him because we're losing a bit of security which we hope to find [with the coach] who replaces him."