In response to yesterday’s mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich, Quique Setien is set to be sacked by Barcelona just over six months into his time at the helm of affairs. Setien took over in January replacing Ernesto Valverde but failed to deliver the league title despite the fact that he met the Catalans at the top of the table.
The whitewashing in Lisbon might have just been the final nail in his coffin. Clubs tend to sack coaches as the fastest way to address issues of yesterday’s nature and it seems Barcelona will follow suit in that route. The Champions League was Barca’s last chance of silverware this season after they missed out on La Liga to Real Madrid last month, but defeat means a first trophy-less season at Camp Nou since 2007-08.
Turbulence within the Barcelona hierarchy
From the look of things, not only Setien is set to be axed by the Blaugrana. Sporting director and club legend Eric Abidal will also be relieved of his duties. This was confirmed by Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu who himself has created unrest within the Camp Nou faithful as millions of fans demand his exit.
The best chance to unseat Bartomeu will come at the next presidential elections of the club and a victory for him could spell greater ramifications for Barca. Lionel Messi has reportedly decided to not renew his stay if Bartomeu wins again. It is also reported that Xavi turned down the managerial offer because of him. All is certainly not well at the top in Barcelona.
Who could replace Setien?
Ideally, the prospect of managing Barcelona should be exciting to anyone but whoever gets the job must tread carefully. Barcelona is so used to winning but must know that it is currently in need of a rebuild.
Mauricio Pochettino is a good candidate for the job. The Argentine has been out of work since his Tottenham exit. His allegiance with Barcelona rivals Espanyol may make the move a bit difficult. Pochettino himself once admitted in the past that he would not entertain the idea of coaching the Spanish giants.
Xavi was approached recently but he turned down the offer as he felt the timing wasn’t right for him yet. Barcelona could well go back for him. There seems to be a current trend with clubs hiring ex-players especially when there’s need for a rebuild and Xavi could well be the man for the job.
However, Ronald Koeman may be the most viable option. The Dutch tactician is the most experienced candidate among the three which would be in his favour. Koeman, like Xavi, is also a fan favourite as he played for Barcelona between 1989-1995 under Johann Cryuff. He is currently under contract with the Netherlands national team and may seek to lead them to the Euros before thinking about a move away.