Ronald Koeman’s future with Barcelona has been in doubt since the day he first put pen to paper on his contract.
He hasn’t done much wrong (or right), but talk of him being replaced at the end of the season is constant, particularly given Barcelona will have a new president by that point. A new era is coming, and Koeman might not be around to see it.
There have been a handful of names linked with the job, but here’s who’s most likely to get the gig.
Frank de Boer has likely only been linked with the job because: he’s Dutch, the manager of the Netherlands and a former Barcelona player. That’s the only way we can make this make sense.
As a manager, De Boer is yet to show anything close to the kind of skill needed for such a complex job. Jose Mourinho called him ‘the worst manager in the history of the Premier League’ after his exploits with Crystal Palace in 2017, and things haven’t improved since.
His time with Atlanta United was average at best, and he has been struggling with the Netherlands after replacing Koeman.
Barcelona might have a history of questionable decision-making, but even they won’t be this stupid.
Barcelona’s desire to appoint someone with Blaugrana in their DNA has seen them linked with Mikel Arteta, who spent the early years of his career as part of the Barcelona academy.
Arteta’s managerial career with Arsenal has been full of ups and downs, but things are slowly starting to turn around, and you get the sense that Arteta wants to finish what he started.
To add to the scepticism, Barcelona would likely want a bit of a bigger name to kick-start the post-Bartomeu era, and will all due respect to Arteta, he doesn’t fit the bill just yet.
Brendan Rodgers is the perfect candidate for Barcelona. He speaks Spanish, has studied Spanish football and comes with a rich history of developing young players.
90min exclusively revealed that the Northern Irishman’s name has come up on more than one occasion in discussions about the club’s future, but his loyalty to Leicester makes this one harder to picture.
He penned a new contract in December 2019, rejecting interest from most of the Premier League’s big boys to do so, and with Leicester forcing their way into the ‘big six’ conversation, his stance hasn’t changed just yet.
A self-proclaimed disciple of Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff, taking charge of the Belgian national team was the best thing Roberto Martinez could have done in 2016.
His stock was low after a miserable spell with Everton, but now, he’s the manager of one of the favourites for the Euros and the World Cup for the foreseeable future.
Barcelona will have noticed the success his possession-based system has brought, but concerns over his pedigree at club level remain. He might be too much of a risk.
If Barcelona want an easy, big-name signing, this is it. Max Allegri has been out of a job since leaving Juventus in 2019, and he’ll be chomping at the bit to get back in the game.
If pedigree is important to Barcelona, they will have been captivated by Allegri’s five consecutive Serie A titles. He’s a serial winner, and Barcelona need someone like that.
However, plenty of other teams have passed on Allegri up until now, and Barcelona will be wary of trying to make an unwanted free agent their blockbuster hiring.
The most exciting young coach on the planet, there isn’t a club in Europe who isn’t interested in RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann.
While his trophy cabinet is still empty, there’s no denying that Nagelsmann worked wonders with Hoffenheim and has managed to turn Leipzig into a genuine threat to Bayern Munich, and it feels like the best is yet to come.
It would be an enormous statement if Barcelona won the race for Nagelsmann, but with so many contenders for his signature, it might not be the easiest option.
Few people seem as destined for the Barcelona job as Erik ten Hag, who has taken Cruyff’s style of play and used it to create his own brand of exciting football with Ajax.
We’ve seen him overachieve in Europe and shine in the Eredivisie, and you just know Barcelona will be keen to get in on that action.
If there’s one downside, it’s that Ten Hag doesn’t speak Spanish, but there are ways around that. If Barcelona want him, they know they could get it done.
If Koeman gets the boot and anyone other than Xavi assumes control, it will be an enormous surprise. Bigger than the decision to sign Martin Braithwaite. Bigger than Samuel Umtiti going five minutes without needing surgery.
Xavi has been earmarked for the job for years now but has always made it clear he didn’t want to work under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Things have changed at Camp Nou and the stage is set for a return.
It’s clearly a romantic appointment and not one based on sporting pedigree, given Al-Sadd isn’t exactly the biggest stage, but that’s not the point. He understands Barcelona, and to club officials, that’s all that matters.