Barcelona Add Four New Names to Koeman Replacements List

Marcelo Gallardo

Getty River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo.

Barcelona have reportedly added four new names to a list of potential candidates to replace Ronald Koeman at the Camp Nou following Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Benfica.

The Catalan giants have added Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo and River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo to a list that already includes Roberto Martinez and Xavi, according to Moises Llorens and Adriana Garcia at ESPN.

The report adds that Barcelona president “could also opt for Albert Capellas” as an “urgent solution” to replace Koeman on an interim basis. Capellas currently works at Barca’s youth academy and “has the backing” of sports adviser Jordi Cruyff.

The final name mentioned is former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick. Laporta has “already monitored” the German during the summer when he first considered replacing Koeman as coach.

A decision on Koeman’s future is not expected imminently. According to Marca, the Dutchman will still be in charge for Saturday’s La Liga match against Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

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Luis Enrique Not Interested in Barcelona Return

One coach who will not be returning to Barcelona is former boss Luis Enrique. The Spain boss was asked if Laporta had been in touch at a news conference to announce his Nations League squad on Thursday, as reported by Diario AS.

“I don’t think he has my phone number,” he said. “I’m a coach here for a second time, and it’s my custom to keep my word. I’ll be here until my contract ends, for sure. Despite my proud history with that club, I don’t want to get involved in other people’s business.”

Luis Enrique famously won the treble in his debut season with Barcelona in 2014-15 but stood down as boss when his contract expired in June 2017 after three years in charge at the Camp Nou.

Expert Gives Lowdown On Martinez & Xavi

Martinez and Xavi are the two names that have been most regularly linked with the Barcelona job and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has offered his thoughts on the duo to BBC Sport.

Balague has explained why Martinez is so well-liked by Barcelona chiefs despite a fairly underwhelming spell in charge of Premier League side Everton before he took charge of Belgium.

“Martinez is what Laporta is looking for,” he explained. “He is someone who understands the club, who has an admiration for Johan Cruyff and his philosophy and he has adapted well wherever he has been. He plays the type of football – building from the back, playing through the thirds – that the president wants.”

Balague also offered some insight into why former midfielder Xavi may not get the call to head back the Camp Nou from Laporta just yet.

“Xavi is the one who seems to suit everyone’s interests best,” said Balague. “The fans like him, the media like him, he is ready to take over, there won’t be an issue with money and he knows the club. He would give the kind of hope that everyone needs given how negative the narrative has become and would do so while the finances get sorted, which will take a long while. But Laporta feels he’s not ready yet and doesn’t want to burn him out. He needs convincing.”

Saturday’s match against Atletico is Barcelona’s final fixture before the latest international break. Barca could decide to make after the game which would give the new manager two weeks with his new team before their next fixture at Valencia on October 17.

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