Current FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is as
good as gone.The architect of five winless games on
the continent over the last two seasons, the
Dutchman cannot be blamed for all that is wrong at
Camp Nou amid financial and institutional problems.
But his attitude, defeatist comments to the press,
and baffling in-game decisions rest firmly on his
shoulders.It is believed to be only a matter of time
until the 58-year-old is shown the door, with no
changes made before tomorrow’s must-win clash
against La Liga holders Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.
There is then a 16-day break until Barca’s next outing,
though, a home meeting with Valencia, and the
international break that dominates the calendar up to
that point gives Laporta breathing space to ready a replacement.
One of four men should assume the hotseat to one of
the most high-pressure jobs in world soccer in either
Andrea Pirlo, Roberto Martinez, Xavi Hernandez or
Marcelo Gallardo.Of them, only Pirlo is available
immediately after being relieved of his duties in a
one-term-and-out tenure at Juventus.
Martinez leads the Belgium national team through
the semifinal of the Nations League against World
Cup winners France next week, while Hernandez is
tied down at Al-Sadd.And lastly, Gallardo does not
want to leave River Plate before his contract expires on December 31.
Regardless of who takes over the reins, problems
may arise before the new appointment has even had
the chance to lead their first session at the Joan
Gamper Training Center.According to reports from
Spain, Laporta is keen to appoint a high-performance
director as he thinks that “one of the biggest needs”
the first team has at the moment is to “modernize training beyond hiring a new coach”.
Whoever comes in for Koeman “will have to live with
this new position”, as Laporta does not want just a
single figure to focus on the players’ preparation for
the demands of the elite game.
Laporta believes that the current training
methodology employed by the Catalans has “dragged
on for years”, and that “new methodologies must be
applied” including an increment in intensity and more
professionalization in various aspects.It is no secret
that the president is a fan of the German new school
of coaching known for its pressing, and this was seen
through his failed courting of Julian Nagelsmann and Hansi Flick.
To bring his underperforming stars’ fitness up to
scratch, he is willing to risk a potential conflict
between his new coach and a high performance
director who will in essence take away tasks,
prominence and influence from Koeman’s successor.