Barcelona reportedly have two options in mind in case Ronald Koeman is relieved of his duties. The Dutchman has come under pressure after Barca’s demoralizing 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Club legend Xavi, who has regularly been linked with the job and has openly admitted it would be a dream to coach his former club, remains an option and is definitely a candidate, according to Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens at ESPN.
Alejandro Echevarria, who is Barcelona president Joan Laporta’s brother-in-law and said to be an “influential figure” at the Camp Nou, is said to be “particularly keen” on the club legend. Xavi is currently in the midst of his first coaching role in charge of Qatari side Al-Sadd.
The second option is current Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. Barcelona advisor Jordi Cruyff who works alongside sporting directors Mateu Alemany and Ramon Planes “would champion Martinez.”
The 48-year-old’s contract with the Belgiun national team runs up to the 2022 World Cup which means he may be reluctant to leave before the tournament begins in Qatar next year.
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Koeman Facing Crucial Three Games?
Barcelona return to action after their defeat to Bayern with a run of three straight La Liga games in a week, starting on Monday, September 20 against Granada at the Camp Nou.
According to Albert Masnou at Diario Sport, president Joan Laporta could decide to make a managerial change if Koeman does not emerge with nine points from Barca’s next three games against Granada, Cadiz, and Levante.
Barcelona will be favorites to win all three games but do head into the matches with a lengthening injury list. Pedri and Jordi Alba have been ruled out after picking up problems in the defeat to Bayern. The duo join attackers Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, and Sergio Aguero on the injured list.
Barcelona Respond To Sack Rumors
Barcelona vice-president Eduard Romeu has responded to rumors that Koeman could be sacked and told a news conference on Friday the club has not talked about dismissing the Dutchman, as reported by ESPN.
“The political answer is it has not been discussed and the real one is that it is not a money problem. But there’s nothing happening. There’s nothing going on,” he said. “Koeman’s a good person. When the president and the board decide that he’s staying on, the commitment [to him] and the support is total, knowing that we are going through a complicated moment in which we have to rebuild the team.”
Romeu also admitted he had not been too surprised by the result against Bayern and felt there were mitigating circumstances.
“Losing to Bayern was something that was in the equation. It was the worst opponent at the worst moment,” he added. “We had several players injured, we were playing against a consolidated side, the game came just after the international break… It makes us angry, but it was something that could have happened.”
Koeman’s contract at Barcelona runs until the end of the season and he will know there is plenty of scrutiny on his team after the Bayern defeat. The Dutchman will surely demand a reaction from his players and will need an vastly improved performance if he is to quieten rumors about his future.