It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Ronald Koeman at Barcelona.
The former Dutch international and Barca player has had to deal with the fall out from Lionel Messi wanting to leave, overseeing Messi’s best mate, Luis Suarez actually leaving, watching with interest to see how a vote of no confidence in the president who hired him was doing and all the while trying to get the Catalans playing well.
For the latter point, he couldn’t really have done any better.Barcelona have looked sharp, disciplined and hungry in every game that they’ve played, and that they’re unbeaten after three of the hardest fixtures they’ll play all season (Villarreal, Celta and Sevilla), is testament to how well Koeman has the team working.
Moreover, the whispers about the coach seem to have dissipated which would suggest that everyone is just getting their heads down and working now.
Getafe away is on the immediate horizon, which is traditionally another tough 90 minutes, whilst the blaugranes will also play Juventus and Real Madrid before the month is out.
If the team is still unbeaten going into November, and with the honeymoon period over by then, attention should turn to how far Koeman can take the team.
With a more youthful look to it now, once the youngsters get more experience, this version of Barça will take some beating.
However, hanging over Koeman is his penchant for Dutch players.
He has admitted over the weekend that Georginio Wijnaldum was on his list to come to the Camp Nou, and the question that really should be being asked straight away is why?
At 29 years of age, he’s no spring chicken and Barca arguably already have players just as good in the side already.
Memphis Depay is another head-scratcher. That’s not to do the Lyon man a disservice either.
If Barca need a true No.9, that’s accepted, but Depay doesn’t really fit the mould of what the Catalans should be looking for.
Having coached him in the Dutch national side, it seems that Koeman believes the opposite.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic could be part of the issue too.
With clubs losing money hand over fist because of lost gate revenue etc., the figures that were previously being quoted for players just aren’t sustainable in the current market.
To that end, both Wijnaldum and Depay wouldn’t overly trouble the money men at the Camp Nou.
However, having starting his tenure so brightly, it would be a shame for Koeman’s team to stagnate just because of giving ‘jobs to the boys’ midway through his first season.