What Are The Options To Replace Ronald Koeman

FC Barcelona might be looking for a new manager mid-season due to poor performances led by Ronald Koeman. The club has not been able to fulfil expectations, especially after losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich at home and the draw vs Granada. The conservative tactics of the Dutchman are the prime reason the club is looking for a change.

Since Ronald Koeman has been incharge, Barcelona have won only one trophy, which is the Copa Del Rey last season. The club has been in a crisis ever since Lionel Messi left the club. The bright and talented youngsters like Yusuf Denir are still not getting the minutes they deserve. The most surprising of the lot is the case of Riqui Puig, whom the manager has completely outcast. When asked about Puig’s game time, he said ‘the player needs to improve various areas of his game’. This is surprising since whenever Puig has played, he has shown how good he is. 

Getting an elite manager is always difficult, since he needs various assurances especially in the transfer market. Barcelona’s financial crisis already squeezes it to a limited number of options. However, it will be very difficult for Laporta to get a good manager mid-season. The ‘reported’ options by Spanish media are as follows:

XAVI HERNANDEZ

This is a dream in the making for the Barcelona faithful. The fans around the world believe that Xavi is the ‘next Pep’ and will bring in the philosophy, and success the club longs for. His lack of experience in European football at the highest level is a major red flag. Even Pep coached the B team before becoming the first team coach. He’s under contract at Al Sadd until 2023, and the QNB Stars League season will end in March 2022. 

Even if he arrives at the club at any point of time in the next one year, he will need time to adapt. The club cannot expect him to deliver immediately, as the club is already in the transition phase since last year. 

GARCÍA PIMIENTA

The former Barcelona B coach was sacked by the club this summer, in a bizarre move by Laporta. The team reached the final of the Segunda B playoffs in two consecutive seasons. La Masia coordinators, Jordi Roura and Aureli Altimira were also sacked with him. Laporta wanted to appoint his own people and let go of the ones appointed by Bartomeu. Pimienta helped players like Monchu, Araujo, Collado, Puig, and Nico grow. He knows the club inside out and is perfect for the first team. 

ALBERT CAPELLAS

Now the Head Coach of Denmark’s Under-21 National team, he has tremendous experience. The man has coached Barca’s youth teams, Dortmund, along with Vitesse, and Brøndby. He’s very insightful, knowledgeable and understands the game in a unique way. He said in an interview : “In football you have to decide what runs; the ball or the player”.  Having coached Barcelona’s youth team in the past, Capellas is someone who understands the club, and will make an immediate impact. 

DIEGO MARTINEZ

Diego Martinez is one of the coaches tipped to be the next big thing in football. Along with Marcelo Gallardo, and Julian Naagalsman, he’s considered to be right up there. The man took Granada to their first ever European football qualification a year ago. They reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League and lost to Manchester United. 

He left the club this summer, and is currently unemployed. To get him will be very exciting indeed. Granada beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou last summer. He plays modern day attacking football, was the youngest coach in La Liga. 

ERIK TEN HAG

Ten Hag is the coach of Ajax, the school of Johan Cruyff, the almost perfect coach for Barcelona. His trust in youth, and his training as Pep’s assistant at Bayern says a lot about his resume. Moreover, the famous Champions League run that Ajax had in the 2018-19 season is the icing on the cake for any team. He’s someone who embodies the club’s philosophy, plays modern day football, and can potentially bring success to the club. 

However, he renewed his contract with Ajax this summer that keeps him at the club until 2023. Ajax are not a club who will let their manager leave midway through the season at any cost. The Dutchman can only arrive next summer if at all possible. 

ROBERTO MARTINEZ

Like Ronald Koeman, he’s the coach of a national team (Belgium), and is under contract until after the world cup in December 2022. So, Roberto is not available till 2023, and the Belgian Football Federation will not let him leave at any cost with the world cup coming next year. Also, there’s a case to be made that he did not achieve success with Belgium’s golden generation of players. One upside to this is that Thierry Henry will be his assistant coach, someone who knows the club. 

It remains to be seen what happens with Ronald Koeman. The manager has been given 3-4 games to reverse the situation, and an action will be taken after assessing the situation.

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