Sunday, August 9, 2020

Who the bookmakers think will be in the dugout at Barcelona next season

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Watching Real Madrid lift their first La Liga title since 2017 last week, many across Europe have continued to speculate on what is going on behind the scenes at the Nou Camp.

With the likes of big money arrivals Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann failing to set the world alight after making the move to Catalonia, it isn’t just on the pitch where the Spanish giants could be seeking a revamp.

Failing to fully find a long-term successor since Pep Guardiola left in 2012 and growing uncertainly over Lionel Messi’s future with the former European champions, it appears that Barcelona are a side looking to rebuild.

With a quick turnaround until the 2020/2021 season gets underway, who do the bookmakers think will be in the dugout at the Nou Camp come the end of the summer?

 

Quique Setien – 2/1 with 888sport

While a Champions League quarter-final second-leg against Napoli might be on the horizon, Barcelona have endured their most testing campaign in recent memory and the mood around the Nou Camp remains increasingly fragile.

However, although the now-former La Liga champions might have seen Los Blancos dethrone them this summer, current boss Quique Setien is still seen as the favourite to cling onto his job.

Brought in to replace Ernesto Valverde back in January, a decision that shocked most across Europe, the 61-year-old has failed to build a relationship with fans around Catalonia and his position has always had question marks surrounding it.

Along with his tactical alterations coming under scrutiny throughout his first six months in charge, there has also remained a string of speculation surrounding his relationship with six-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.

Branding Barca as “a weak team” after their shock 2-1 defeat against Osasuna last week, the power dynamic between player and boss seems quite off-kilter and many feel that Setien has lost the respect of the dressing room.

While Setien might be sat in pole position to lead Barcelona past the summer, few expect him to be able to galvanise Barca’s aging squad for a title reclaim next season.

 

Patrick Kluivert – 3/1 with Unibet

If Barcelona are to make a change in their dugout over the summer, then it appears that they have one potential replacement already set up at the Nou Camp.

A former Barcelona fan favourite during his time at the club as a player, Patrick Kluivert is currently the now-former champions academy director and could be in line for a promotion over the coming months.

Gaining experience under another former Barca boss in Louis van Gaal as assistant manager for the Netherlands national team during the 2014 World Cup, Kluivert is a hugely respected figure behind the scenes in Catalonia.

Scoring 122 goals during his six-year stay at Barcelona, it is even being reported by Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo that the Nou Camp dressing room have already given their blessing for the Dutchman to take the reigns.

With the likes of Messi and co reportedly “eager” for the 44-year-old to take charge, many around Catalonia feel that Kluivert understands the club’s model and can offer them some much-needed intensity.

Molded by Johan Cruyff’s philosophy and given huge plaudits for Ansu Fati’s stunning emergence in the Barcelona first-team, a promotion for Kluivert this summer would certainly give the fans a real boost.

 

Ronald Koeman – 9/2 with 888sport

While Barcelona might undoubtedly be eyeing up former skipper Xavi as their future long-term successor down the line, another former Catalonia star is being linked with a move back to Spain.

Previously rumored to be on Barca’s shortlist before appointing Setien back in January, Holland national team boss Ronald Koeman has made it no secret that he is keen to stand in the Nou Camp dugout.

Koeman, who underwent heart surgery in May, spoke with Outlook India about his desire to take charge of the Spanish giants, going as far to say that “everyone knows it’s my dream to coach Barca.”.

Although dreadful spells at the likes of Everton might have seen his stock take a hit, Koeman has done an outstanding job of revitalizing the Dutch national team.

Guiding them back to the international stage and securing a second-place finish in the inaugural UEFA Nations League last year, Koeman also spent two years working as Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Barca from 1998 to 2000.

Much like fellow Dutchman Kluivert, the 57-year-old is almost held in cult status at the Nou Camp and is certainly someone who understands what the fans demand from their side.

Winning 10 major honors during his six-year stay at Barca, could Koeman be the man to lead their revival next season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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