Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is expected to remain in charge for Thursday’s trip to Cadiz, but the club are exploring options to replace him, sources told ESPN.
Koeman’s position was further weakened by Monday’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou against Granada in LaLiga, which followed last week’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Sources explain that president Joan Laporta held an hourlong emergency meeting with his board of directors after the Granada game as the doubts regarding Koeman’s suitability continue.
However, the lack of alternatives available is preventing Laporta from making a rash decision before Barca travel to Cadiz, where they lost in the league last season. The president doesn’t want an interim option, someone to come in for a few months or until the end of the season; he would like to appoint someone capable of building a long-term project at the club.
Jordi Cruyff, who returned to Barca in an advisory capacity this summer, has championed Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, while former midfielder Xavi Hernandez, coaching Al-Sadd in Qatar, is another option. Sources said another candidate is someone who has a history with the club.
Barca vice president Eduard Romeu said last week that money would not be a problem in terms of paying off Koeman, as had previously been suggested due to the club’s financial problems, with gross debt standing at around €1.35 billion.
Barca remain unbeaten in LaLiga this season, with eight points from their four games following the draw with Granada.
Bayern Munich recently hit Barca 3-0
Sources explain, though, that performances as much as results have increased the pressure on Koeman, who ended Monday’s game with a makeshift front two of Luuk de Jong and defender Gerard Pique.
Barca made 54 crosses in the match, their highest tally in a LaLiga game since they made 55 against Malaga in 2016 and their second highest since the 2005-06 season.
“There wasn’t space to play inside,” Koeman reasoned after the game. “There was more space out wide and we had to fight for the second ball in the box. It’s true we changed our style, but it’s what the game required.The exit of former talisman some say has continued to take its toil on the La Liga giants with some insiting it will take a miracle for return to a hard to beat status.
Mazi Akuma Chibuike reporting, Obinwannem News writer / September 22, 2021