BARCELONA – Joan Laporta waits for the opportune moment to determine the dismissal of a Ronald Koeman who is known to have been sentenced and waiting for the president to decide the name of his relief, no less detail considering that whoever occupies the position will be his personal bet, as were Rijkaard in 2003 and Guardiola in 2008, and if something was very clear during his first stage in the presidency of Barcelona (2003-2010) it was the determination with which he supported his coaches.
Koeman, a living legend of Barcelona and whom Laporta holds a special appreciation for what he meant during his time as a Barça footballer (despite his current distance), will lead the team against Levante this Sunday (from the stands) and it is possible that He sits on the bench at the Estadio da Luz the following Wednesday to face Benfica in a second day of the Champions League that already has the flavor of determining the fate of Barça in Europe … But from then on, the days until his luck is sentenced.
“I cannot say much about this issue because I have not read the press for a long time … I know, of course, the rumors that there are but all we have to do is win games,” the coach cut in the press room, aware of which is something he must live with. “There are rumors, names … That is your job (of journalists). But I’m not going to waste energy on things that I can’t control and I focus on what I can control. “
The selection stoppage is established as the ideal moment to take the step, assuming that by then the president, supported by his most direct collaborators, has a clear name of a substitute who is situated between Xavi Hernández and Robert Martínez as the top candidates, although among the board more names have slipped, not too many, as applicants with a certain ascent at the Camp Nou.
In the last hours, Óscar García, a former youth coach and today at the helm of Reims, appeared, an unconditional follower, like Xavi, of the Cruyffista theory and well-regarded by the board, such as Erik Ten Hag, currently directing Ajax Amsterdam, or Peter Bosz, coach of Olympique Lyon. The three, like Robert Martínez, maintain a very close relationship with Jordi Cruyff, whose opinion is very taken into account by a Laporta who, is recognized in the club, is no longer so reluctant to choose Xavi, understanding that the coach Catalan would lower his claims not only financially but, even more, his demand to land at the Camp Nou with absolute command in the sports field and accompanied by a large team of collaborators.
SOLITUDE OR SENTENCE
The club will have to face a settlement of more than 15 million dollars to fire Koeman, and assistants, and to add the salary of the new coach (and collaborators), which is a headache in view of the financial situation current. Vice President Eduard Romeu assured that dismissing the Dutchman was not a problem … But he did not say anything about the investment necessary to replace him. And more taking into account that Laporta has decided that whoever arrives will not be a bridge coach, but one with a clear future project.
A project in which he hopes to lead the current coach, who lowered his tone to a certain extent when referring to Laporta, recognizing that during the return trip from Cádiz “we were talking about the game, nothing else” and solving, to avoid new fires (It is assumed) that the president “is the most important man in the club and of course he can speak and give his opinion”, something he does not want to continue influencing.
Much has been said and written in the last hours about the coach’s position of loneliness based on the statements of Sergi Roberto and Gerard Piqué in which they departed from their postulates, both agreeing, against their opinion, that Barça is not in a position to fight for the titles.
One would think, logically, that the costumes are not with him, although in the first person he made it clear that it is not like that and that, even, the opinions are coincident. “Every player and coach wants to win games and titles. There is no difference on this issue and I have discussed it with the players,” Koeman resolved, without taking for granted, in any case, his position of extreme weakness.
The sentence in the Camp Nou offices is taken for granted although no one dares to establish that final date. There are even those who, with total discretion, point to the possibility of an improbable but not impossible rebirth … And that, in fact, it already occurred last season when the team went from the most absolute of miseries to winning the Copa del Rey with an exquisite brilliance and fighting for the League until the final collapse.
If Barça are able to survive the next two games and hit the Wanda Metropolitano against Atlético de Madrid, who will be the brave man to fire Koeman?