Ronald Koeman has no doubt that Barcelona can do “big things” this season despite losing the club’s talisman Lionel Messi and French attacker Antoine Griezmann. The Catalan club’s financial troubles restricted the manager from bringing in the players that he wanted, but is confident about his team’s ability to perform at a high level.
Barcelona brought in Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero on free transfers and then added striker Luuk de Jong on a loan deal from Sevilla on transfer deadline day. Koeman will have to rely on the young players coming through and the senior core to carry the burden of mounting a title challenge this season.
“There are always things to improve but I’ll tell you one thing: if we have everyone available, we can do big things,” Koeman said “We have a great team. We still have to be realistic, it will be difficult, but I am optimistic and ambitious.”
Depay has become the central focus following the departure of Messi and Griezmann, and Koeman has backed his compatriot to begin a new era at the Camp Nou. He is certain that the Dutch attacker can thrive in the pressure that playing at the Camp Nou brings.
“Memphis can mark an era at Barca,” the Dutch coach added. “He has something that is essential to be a success here: personality and character. There’s something different about him and he’s really motivated by the challenge of being here.”
Koeman also addressed the uncertainty surrounding his future and admitted that talks have taken place to extend his current deal that expires in 2022. The Dutchman took over the reigns last summer, but was unsure if he will remain at the helm beyond this season.
“Of course I want to renew,” Koeman said. “I would love to be Barca coach for many years, despite the complications that exist at the club at the moment. But thanks to our decisions, Barca have young players with huge futures and I hope that, in the next three, four, five years, I can continue being their manager.”