It’s not a good time to be Quique Setién.
Barcelona have fallen apart since La Liga’s return, allowing Real Madrid to move ahead in the title race. The football isn’t pretty and players aren’t impressed, and it’s gotten so bad that the boss could even be fired before the season comes to a close.
Let’s take a look at who could replace him.
Let’s just get this one out of the way. Mauricio Pochettino is probably the most appealing available option out there, but he’s not joining Barcelona.
He would be the ideal man for the job, but he has categorically ruled out sitting in the Camp Nou dugout because of his loyalty towards his former side Espanyol.
Eusebio Sacristán won four La Liga titles as a player with Barcelona before spending four years as manager of the B team between 2011 and 2015. He even got his badges as part of Frank Rijkaard’s backroom staff at Camp Nou. If Barça want someone who understands the club, Eusebio is the man for the job.
However, the problem with Eusebio is his less-than-impressive record away from Barcelona. He underwhelmed at Real Sociedad and has been out of work since last summer, when his Girona side were relegated.
He hasn’t put together the kind of record which a Barcelona manager should have, so this job will probably be too far away.
Does Xavi want to go back to Barcelona? Yes
Do Barcelona want him back? Yes, they tried to get him before they moved for Setien.
Is Xavi going to go back while this board of directors – and this president – are in place? Probably not, no.
A target to replace Ernesto Valverde before Setién arrived, Roberto Martínez’s name is still thrown about when it comes to discussing Barcelona’s next move.
Still under contract with the Belgium national team, Martínez would definitely be a shock appointment. He’s by no means a bad manager, but his record doesn’t exactly make him look like a dream for Barça.
His time at Everton ended disastrously, and although his Belgium side are one of the best around, there are better options around.
Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is believed to have snubbed the chance to move to Barcelona already, but that hasn’t stopped the rumours.
With five Serie A titles to his name, Allegri boasts the kind of pedigree you’d want from a Barcelona manager, but he doesn’t bring the kind of playing style which is expected at Camp Nou.
His Juventus sides often dropped deep and played a slow game, rather than overloading opponents with their possession and speed. It’s not the most popular, which sounds like trouble for any Barcelona manager.
Having won the treble in his first year and the double in his second, Luis Enrique commands a special place in Barcelona folklore.
His perfectionist attitude brought plenty of impressive results, but also proved detrimental to Enrique’s well-being and forced the boss to walk away from his position after just three years.
If we’re being picky, there were also the odd criticisms of his play style and decisions in the transfer market, so although he parted on good terms, Enrique might not be at the top of the wish list. Also, y’know, he’s Spain manager and only a year away from his first major tournament.
A Barcelona legend, Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman is many fans’ favourite to take over at Camp Nou in the near future.
Koeman understands the Johan Cruyff way of life and is always ready to try and implement that wherever he goes. Possession and youth are core parts of his game.
His time at Everton wasn’t great, but he has rebuilt his reputation with the Netherlands. It would be a risk, but the rewards could be outstanding.
Marcelo Gallardo is yet to test himself in Europe, but if his record with Argentinian side River Plate is anything to go by, he’d fit in just fine.
Using the kind of positionless football which is so popular at Camp Nou, the young manager has built a side who are dominant in attack and thrive on overwhelming opponents. On paper, he’s a perfect fit.
The main issue with this is the risk attached with bringing an untested manager over from South America. César Luis Menotti and Gerardo Martino both failed to impress – could Gallardo be the man to buck the trend?
It seems like Barcelona are just waiting for a chance to promote current reserve manager Francisco García Pimienta.
Seen as one of the most well-informed people at Camp Nou, García Pimienta’s 14 years in the academy setup has turned him into the ideal candidate. He knows how to identify and develop talented youngsters, and he does so by playing a stunning brand of football.
In fact, many have even suggested he shows similarities to club icon Pep Guardiola, which is always going to work in your favour if you want the Barcelona gig.
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