Miralem Pjanic leaves on loan and hits at Ronald Koeman

In his bid to avoid another year of painful insignificance, Miralem Pjanic was looking to complete a move away from Barcelona and coach Ronald Koeman. His desire went even beyond the original transfer window, and the Bosnian has finally found a new destination. That will be Besiktas, where he will play on loan for a year. Yet unlike in other cases, this looks like his Barça career coming to a conclusion rather than a temporary halt.

Losing Arthur Melo in exchange for Miralem was a tough pill to swallow. Due to the age gap between the two and the Brazilian’s evidently high ceiling. However, that didn’t mean Pjanic would be of no service to Barça. It was, in fact, the better option as for the club’s short-term plans. In Pjanic, we had a proven midfield maestro with various potential roles to play. The coach’s task was therefore not to nurture the player’s development, but to simply avail himself of the quality of an already accomplished footballer.

Yet rather than the stellar campaign that was expected from Pjanic, what ensued was a campaign full of frustration. After a couple of encouraging outings, the 31-year-old soon went tumbling down the pecking order and would end up as the last-choice midfielder in the team, behind Ilaix Moriba and even Riqui Puig, amassing a meager 3 games since the dawn of March.

Bad Coach – Player relationship

Ronald Koeman’s lack of faith in Miralem wasn’t groundless. As a sole pivot, his defensive coverage in particular left plenty to be desired. But personally, I still view Pjanic’s case as one of unexploited potential. The number 8 spot is arguably where his impact would have been magnified and his key attributes ( creativity, vision ) would have been fully utilised. Annoyingly, he was barely ever deployed there.

The exasperation provoked by his rapid fall from grace meant the rapport between Koeman and Pjanic became sourer with each passing day, to the point where it was clear that a move away from the club was the Bosnian’s sole hope of game time. Besiktas have proven the only team whose interest materialised, making the Black Eagles the new station of Miralem’s illustrious, but declining career.

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