Barcelona president Joan Laporta has reportedly almost made up his mind to fire coach Ronald Koeman at the end of the 2020-21 season. The Catalan giants play their final fixture of the campaign on Saturday away at relegated Eibar.
The Catalan giants are said to be “99 percent” convinced it’s the right time to part ways with Koeman following a disappointing end to the season which has seen the team miss out on the league title, according to RAC1.
The report adds that the only factor that may save Koeman is the lack of a credible replacement being available. The news comes in the wake of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Celta Vigo in Barca’s final home game of the season.
The result means it’s now one win in five under Koeman and the team is now mathematically unable to finish top. Indeed Barca could end up fourth if they lose to Eibar and Sevilla beat Alaves on the final day.
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Is Xavi On His Way To Barcelona?
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has been regularly linked with a return to Barcelona and those rumors have resurfaced in the wake of the club’s disappointing end to the campaign.
The speculation has even continued despite the fact Xavi has just signed a two-year contract extension with Qatari side Al Sadd and insisted he does not have a so-called ‘Barcelona clause’ in his new deal which would allow him to return to the Camp Nou.
The club legend is due back in Barcelona this week on holiday, although the amount of suitcases he seems to be bringing back with him has aroused suspicion from some fans that he might be planning a longer stay.
Xavi has admitted he previously turned the Barcelona job down in January 2020 because it “wasn’t the right time.” It remains to be seen if he will reject his former club if they come calling a second time.
Who Else Could Barcelona Go For?
Barcelona and Laporta are also searching for other possible candidates and do not want to sack Koeman until they have a replacement lined up, according to Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden at ESPN.
Xavi is seen as the “most logical option” but there are still some officials at Barcelona who feel it’s too soon. The Al Sadd boss is also said to be in no rush to take on the job.
The report adds that Bayern boss Hansi Flick has been approached but is expected to take over from Joachim Low at Germany, while Laporta is also a fan of Julian Nagelsmann and Jurgen Klopp.
Koeman was asked about his future after Sunday’s defeat to Celta Vigo but did not want to talk, as reported by Marca. The Dutchman said only, “I am not going to answer because I already said yesterday what I thought and I do not need to repeat myself.”
The Barcelona boss said before the game at his pre-match press conference that he wants to stay and feels the season should be analyzed as a whole, but it’s difficult to see Koeman remaining in charge after yet another poor result.