Barcelona's dreadful defeat in the midweek Champions League fixtures in Lisbon does put more pressure on Ronald Koeman. What's worse, the Catalan side has limited candidates for the immediate replacement.
Blaugrana's five winless results in continental competition is certainly not only disappointing but also humiliating. It is understandable that their fans and Joan Laporta, as the man who signed for the job to save the club from bankruptcy and series of negative outcome, would want an immediate solution to avoid turning their campaign from bad to worse. Nevertheless, the solution might not be as easy as replacing the Dutch boss.
Laporta has been reportedly suggesting the need to modernize the club's training methodology as well as tactical. The president who first led Barcelona in early 2000s believes that Barcelona would not just need a single headcoach but also notable technical team behind him. This would definitely create more issues since he is willing to put a risky conflict between the manager and the performance director when necessary for the sake of the team's revival in elite.
Alternatively, Laporta could choose the figure from the internal circle or someone who has no objections in collaborating with the team's current technical staffs. This has been Ronald Koeman's likely issue since he seems more defensive with his ways of managing the team. Here are some of the most likely candidates to take over the manager post, should Koeman be shown the door in the near future.
- Xavi Hernandez: if anyone who fits Laporta's ideal requirement, he is definitely none but the former skipper and the prominent leading figure on the pitch in the tiki taka golden days. He has wonderful stint in Al-Sadd of Qatar to start with and knows the club inside out. Unfortunately, he is still attached to his new contract and Barcelona is not in their best financial position to buy it out. Xavi himself is keen on returning but probably not as immediate as now.
- Roberto Martinez: The second possible one is the current Belgium boss, Roberto Martinez. He brought Kevin de Bruyne and Co to finish third in World Cup 2018 and put them on the top of FIFA ranks since then and led Wigan to win their first FA Cup in 2013. Yet, he is said to be yet formally approached by the Catalan side despite the fact that he is open for the position.
- Andrea Pirlo: The former Juventus boss last season who had been released after only one-year spell could be considered as he has the sufficient experience handling the high profile players in the big team. Pirlo also managed to win Coppa Italia although Cristiano Ronaldo and Co only finished fourth on the table.
- Sergi Barjuan: The current B team manager could be opted for the most reasonable choice considering the club's financial crisis. Yet, his lack of experience leading a big team with mounting pressure to win in each and every game could be the issue as well.
Apart from those names, there are other who have been rumoured to take charge of the club such as Eric Ten Hag, Marcelo Gallardo and Joachim Low. Ten Hag is definitely a long shot since he is strongly committed to his current team, Ajax and so is Gallardo but he could be open in January as his contract with River Plate expires at the end of the year, whereas no confirmed news regarding the former Germany boss who guided Die Manschaft for their last World Cup title. Considering the current situation and Laporta's tendency, it could be either promoting the former left back Sergi Barjuan or Koeman's assistant Henrik Larsson as the caretaker till January if they seriously chase Gallardo's signing plus more viable option or signing a short term contract based for Pirlo to see how he gets on.