In the last couple of weeks, it has come to light that the Netherlands national team coach, Ronald Koeman, has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave in the summer of 2020.
That clause only applies to one club, however. FC Barcelona.
The news has already sent the chattering classes into overdrive, with many cules suggesting that he’s precisely the sort of coach that’s not required.Given how unhappy they’ve been with Ernesto Valverde from the very beginning of his tenure, you would expect the feeling would be that anyone else is an upgrade on the Basque.
Particularly a man who has Barca coursing through his veins.
Remember it was Koeman’s goal that brought the club their first ever European Cup, and he formed part of one of the most successful sides in Barca’s history in his playing days there.
As coach of the Dutch side, he’s certainly got them back to where they should be in terms of their place in Europe, and with the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Donny van der Beek, Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie de Jong in their ranks, they are a pretty good bet for success at the European Championships.
Certainly, Koeman appears to have the credentials to at least make a decent fist of the coaches job at the Camp Nou, and yet, because of his record at places like Southampton and Everton, many Barca supporters are still completely underwhelmed.
It would also appear that they’re none too happy at what they perceive as a deal already being lined up for him.
The latter train of thought may be well wide of the mark of course, but football supporters being what they are, any conspiracy theory, and particularly where Barcelona are concerned, is going to have legs.
It’s worth pointing out though that Koeman’s presence could well herald a new Dutch influx, were he to get the gig.
De Jong is already in place, and it really wouldn’t be a surprise for De Ligt to follow.
Van der Beek is a potential option, as is Justin Kluivert, whose father Patrick, a former blaugrana himself, is already back in situ as head of Barca’s La Masia academy.
Whilst it’s accepted that clubs do need to plan ahead for any eventuality, the news surrounding Koeman does seem a little premature and perhaps even disrespectful to a coach in Valverde who has never been anything but a consummate professional.
As to whether the Dutchman would be the right choice… he certainly has all of the ingredients to be a success in the position, but he’d live and die by his results, just like anyone else.