Rafa Márquez emerges as candidate for Barcelona job - sources

Xavi: All decisions went against Barca in UCL exit vs. PSG (1:00)

Xavi Hernandez lashes out at the referee after Ronald Araujo's red card in Barcelona's 4-1 loss to PSG in the Champions League. (1:00)

Former Mexico international Rafa Márquez is now seen as one of the candidates to replace Xavi Hernández as Barcelona coach, despite only being considered as an interim option two months ago, a source has told ESPN.

There is growing support within the club for Márquez, with the search for a new coach expected to accelerate following Barça's Champions League exit against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

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Márquez, 45, was initially only considered as a potential caretaker in the event Xavi, who announced in January he will step down in the summer after over two years in the job, did not see the season out.

The former Barcelona defender is in charge of the club's B team, who are competing for promotion into the second division of Spanish football.

Several sources have told ESPN that Barcelona are still considering other alternatives such as Hansi Flick and Thomas Tuchel, but Márquez is now also a long-term option because the club knows it will be difficult to offer such a significant project to an experienced coach due to the economic limitations they will have in the upcoming transfer window.

Barça's delicate financial situation means they are unable to offer guarantees over squad building due to the limitations they will have in the transfer market while they remain over €200 million ($212m) in excess of their €204m LaLiga-imposed annual spending cap.

ESPN have previously reported that Barça will struggle to sign new players this summer and could even force them to consider offers for key players, including defender Ronald Araújo, to comply with the league's rules.

That would be less of a problem for Márquez, although there are also people at the club who did not like the way he publicly positioned himself as Xavi's possible replacement midway through the season or his work with a Mexican betting company.

After losing to PSG, Barça travel to Real Madrid this weekend with the chance to cut the gap on the LaLiga leaders to five points with six games to play.

Prior to those two games, sources told ESPN there remained people at the club who were hopeful Xavi would perform a U-turn on his decision and commit to seeing out his contract, which runs until 2025.

However, another source said that Xavi was set on leaving at the end of the campaign regardless of what happened against PSG and Madrid.

In February, Barcelona's sporting director Deco ruled out Marquez as an option for the first-team and suggested the club was on the lookout for a more experienced coach.

Barça, according to sources, have since sounded out a number of coaches, including Brighton coach Roberto de Zerbi as well as Flick and Tuchel.

Laporta has always been a great admirer of German coaches and Flick and Tuchel would be feasible because the former is without a team after leaving the German national team and the latter will leave Bayern Munich once the season ends.

However, a source told ESPN that Laporta is not fully convinced because in reality the only two coaches he likes are Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp who are both considered impossible targets.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has also been linked with the role, but the club assume it will be even more complicated to appoint someone who is already employed, so Márquez has seen his chances of landing the role permanently increase in recent weeks.

During his two years with Barça's second team, he has coached the likes of Pau Cubarsí, Hector Fort and Marc Guiu, who have all made their first team debuts this season.

His contract expires in the summer but sources have told ESPN the club do not envisage any problems in extending it should he be chosen as Xavi's replacement.