It’s worth pointing out that there are lot of good things to have come out of Ronald Koeman’s tenure at Barcelona.
Not least the fact that he’s been brave enough to bring through youngsters that have changed the dynamic of the team and hinted at a bright future for the club.
After their worst start for over 30 years, the Dutchman recovered the team to such an extent that, until a couple of weeks ago, when a win against Granada would’ve meant the destination of the league title would be in their hands, they were still in the conversation for honours.It was an incredible turnaround, but the abject way in which they lost to the Andalusians signalled a changing of the guard.
Results since – draws against Atletico and Levante, and another poor home loss to Celta – have merely underscored the need for a new broom to come in and sweep clean.
Koeman has certainly got the ball rolling and he has to be thanked for his contribution.
However, in the big matches, he just hasn’t been good enough tactically to turn results around, nor has he been able to inspire when his team has been up against it.
Whomever Joan Laporta chooses to replace him, the president has got to get the appointment bang on the money.
After the way in which Ernesto Valverde’s tenure was ended, and the ridiculously short-sighted appointment of Quique Setien and Eder Sarabia, Koeman’s all-too-brief intervention is another sign that Barca have no direction in terms of managerial hires.
What exactly is it that they want from their manager, and who is best placed to give it to them?
Xavi Hernandez is being touted for the position, but with no experience at the elite level, some board members are known to be reticent.
Ditto Garcia Pimienta, who has been at the club for over 15 years and coached Leo Messi whilst he was at Barca B.
One other name in the frame is Ajax’s Erik ten Hag, who would certainly fit the bill in terms of experience and the way that his side’s play football, however, he’d be the most expensive hire of the three, and with hardly any money to play with at present, he might just be out of reach financially.
Laporta won’t fire Koeman until he has his replacement readied, so even if it takes the entire summer to get things right, there’s little to no chance that the Dutchman will still be in situ for the start of the 2021/22 campaign.