Qatari club Al Sadd insist Xavi will not be allowed to leave at “this sensitive time of the season”, despite Barcelona officials arriving in Doha for talks about their head coach.
Former Barca midfielder Xavi, 41, is the favourite to replace Ronald Koeman as the Catalan club’s new boss.
Koeman, 58, was sacked last week.
“The club’s position is clear from the beginning – we are committed to keeping Xavi with us,” said Al Sadd chief executive Turki Al-Ali.
“We cannot have him leave at this sensitive time of the season.”
Barcelona officials Rafa Yuste and Mateu Alemany travelled to Doha on Tuesday to try to negotiate Xavi’s release and met with the former midfielder’s agents on Wednesday, reported Reuters.
Barcelona are ninth in La Liga table after winning four of their opening 11 games, leaving them nine points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad.
On Friday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he is in contact with Xavi – who played 779 games and won 25 major honours for Barca between 1998 and 2015 – about replacing Koeman.
Laporta said: “I have always said one day [Xavi] will be Barca’s head coach but I don’t know when.
“We have great references about Xavi at Al Sadd. All our reports about Xavi are positive. We can talk a lot about Xavi, but I cannot give you more details. He is in all the papers, but we also have other options.”