Barcelona president Joan Laporta and the club’s board are currently studying possible alternatives to first-team coach Ronald Koeman following the culmination of the 2020-21 season.
The Dutchman has one year left on his contract at the Camp Nou but his future remains uncertain following a disappointing end to the campaign which saw Barca miss out on the league title.
Club legend Xavi remains the favorite option for some members of the board, but Laporta would rather the Al Sadd coach took over Barca B initially to gain more coaching experience, according to Edu Polo at Mundo Deportivo.
There are two more names that are being considered currently. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who played for the Barcelona as a youngster and worked alongside Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, is one option under consideration.
Barca is also studying the possibility of Belgium coach Roberto Martinez taking over. The 47-year-old is a known admirer of Johan Cruyff’s style of play and is good friends with the Barcelona legend’s son Jordi.
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Arteta Unlikely To Make Barcelona Move?
The chances of Arteta moving to Barcelona look slim. Marca report there is a “90%” chance he will stay at Arsenal despite the fact he would be “delighted” to receive an approach from the Catalans.
Arteta is in his first managerial role with the Gunners and has just completed his first full season in charge. The 39-year-old was first appointed in December 2019 and went on to win the FA Cup five months later.
The Arsenal boss started the current campaign by overseeing a penalty shootout win over Liverpool to win the Community Shield. However, it’s been a tough campaign for the Gunners who finished the season in eighth which means there is no European football for 2021-22.
Barca’s Decision On Koeman ‘Imminent’
Barcelona is expecting to make a decision on whether Koeman stays on or not imminently, according to Ivan San Antonio at Diario Sport. A final decision on the Dutchman’s future “must be made before the first week of June.”
Koeman is due to meet Laporta in the “coming days” and will discuss the season just gone and his plans for the next campaign. The Barcelona president will listen but also “believes he must make big calls ahead of the first full year of his mandate.”
Yet Barcelona’s financial position must also be taken into consideration. The Catalan giants announced huge debts at the start of 2021 of €1.2 billion ($1.5b), as reported by Goal.
Sacking Koeman will not come cheap which could prove a problem. According to Sport, parting ways with the Dutchman a year early would cost the club around €7.5 million ($9m).
Despite all the speculation it is still not out of the question that Koeman could continue for another season. The 58-year-old has already made it clear he wants he stay on and continue in his role.
He told reporters after Saturday’s final day win over Eibar, “I don’t think it’s my last (game as coach). I have a contract and… I don’t know. You talk a lot about this but I am calm. If there’s something the club want to change, they have to speak with me.”