Barcelona in crisis but may turn to the comfort zone of Ronald Koeman

A season with no trophies topped off with losing 8-2 against Bayern Munich has made the 2019/20 season Barcelona’s worst in a generation. They also saw their rivals Real Madrid race to another La Liga title too. It’s been a bad 12 months for the club.

For now, somehow Quique Setien remains the coach of Barcelona. Many expected him to be sacked when it was was clear that Barca had conceded the league, but the board stuck with the former Real Betis coach. Then following the 8-2 loss to Bayern on Friday evening surely that was it? And yet 72 hours later he is still there. But surely the time is ticking.

Barcelona need change and the front runner to get the new job is Ronald Koeman, but is he the right choice? Koeman was of course a legend with the club in the early to mid 1990s winning lots of trophies and in that sense he would be welcomed by the hardcore fans.

As a coach though Koeman has been hit and miss, winning some titles with Ajax and although he has coached clubs like Benfica, Valencia and PSV that was over a decade ago. He has also recently failed at clubs like Southampton and Everton in the Premier League. However his reputation has been seen as better in the last 2 years as he took over the role of the Netherlands where he led the nation to the UEFA Nations League final. He also has a win rate of 55% and the nation who have struggled in recent years are enjoying an upturn.

With Euro 2021 to look forward to it and a World Cup in Qatar in 2022 it may seem doubtful that Koeman would want to give that up to coach a Barcelona side who look like they are heading for decline. Perhaps it depends on how much transfer budget they will have but at the same time everyone knows they will have to sell a lot of deadwood players like Ousmane Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho.

But Koeman seems like a comfort zone choice for Barcelona and one wonders if by not progressing with forward thoughts that the club could stay stale. Look around Europe and one can see that German coaches are dominating the game from Jurgen Klopp to Hans Flick. If they are unavailable why not go for a coach like Julian Nagelsmann at RB Lepizig? At just 33 Nagelsmann has become the youngest coach ever to have a team in the Champions League semi-finals, and his future looks bright.

A risk perhaps for Barcelona, but seems like an option rather than bringing in the beleaguered Koeman whose reputation may dry off quicker than a damp suit in Dubai.

Another manager who has been linked to Barcelona is the very likeable Mauricio Pochettino. Indeed it seemed that the ex Tottenham manager was close to signing a deal a few days ago. Now word has it that Barca have cooled their interest, or have they? Pochettino’s infamous words on the eve of the 2019 Champions League final that winning trophies isn’t important could haunt him for the rest of his career. That simply isn’t an option at clubs like Barca.

One thing is for sure if Real Madrid are not in crisis then Barcelona must be, and it really does seem to be going south very quick for the Catalan giants. A decision on who will be their new coach will surely be taken this week.

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