Barcelona players would be happy to see former striker Patrick Kluivert replace under-fire boss Quique Setien as manager at the Camp Nou.
Cristina Cubero at Mundo Deportivo reports the players “know and appreciate” Kluivert and news he could take charge of the club for their Champions League campaign in August “has gone down well in the locker room.”
There are plenty of reasons why he would be a popular choice with the players too, according to Cubero. The Dutchman would provide the “intensity and character” that captain Lionel Messi demanded in an interview after Thursday’s defeat to Osasuna.
Kluivert also speaks a range of different languages, has vast experience of playing at the top-level in different countries, and has an “excellent” relationship with the club’s young stars.
Cubero also reports there is optimism that Kluivert could get the best out of Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong and could also help Ousmane Dembele, who has been plagued by injuries since joining Barca from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.
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Will Barcelona Fire Setien?
Setien’s future at the club is under scrutiny after the club lost the league title on Thursday to Real Madrid. The Catalan giants will finish the season empty-handed unless they win the Champions League, but they will need a vast improvement if they are to be crowned European champions.
The Barca boss revealed in a press conference on Saturday that he has met with president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Friday for talks but added that “at no time have I had the feeling of wanting to leave.”
However, a dressing room source has told Adriana Garcia and Moises Llorens at ESPN that the players think the job is “too big” for Setien and added that when he “tried to impose something, it was too late. At times it feels like he wants to be sacked.”
Bartomeu only hired Setien in January and has been “openly considering” sacking the coach next week, according to Jordi Blanco at ESPN.
Barcelona play their final La Liga game on Sunday at Alaves and will then have a brief break before beginning preparations for the Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli on August 8.
Kluivert at Barcelona?
There’s no doubt Kluivert has a strong bond with Barcelona. The former striker spent six years at the Camp Nou as a player, winning the league title in 1998-199. He also won titles in the Netherlands with Ajax and PSV and also played in France, Italy, and England throughout his career.
He has had a number of coaching roles since hanging up his boots, most notably with Dutch club FC Twente and the Curacao national team in South America. He also had a brief stint as Cameroon assistant coach.
Kluivert subsequently returned to Barcelona in 2019 to take up a role as director of the club’s famed La Masia academy and said after being appointed to his new position that he was “happy to be back home.”