Pirlo and Gallardo join Xavi and Robert Martínez as candidates to relieve Koeman at Barcelona


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Pirlo and Gallardo join Xavi and Robert Martínez as candidates to relieve Koeman at Barcelona

BARCELONA – Andrea Pirlo and Marcelo Gallardo, River Plate coach, are the latest names to join the list of candidates to lead Barcelona as the Catalan club continues to search for alternatives to replace Ronald Koeman, according to different sources explained to ESPN.

Xavi Hernández and Belgium coach Roberto Martínez also continue to have options to reach the Camp Nou while the same sources do not rule out ESPN that Joan Laporta opts for a man of the house like Albert Capellas as an emergency solution until the summer.

Capellas, who currently works at the Barcelona academy as one of those responsible for grassroots football, was the Danish Under-21 coach and has the support of Jordi Cruyff since he was his assistant in 2018 in the Chongqing Lifan of the Chinese Super League.

Pirlo, Gallardo, Xavi and Roberto Martínez have a higher profile but Capellas would be valued in the event that Laporta opts to replace Koeman with an interim coach until the end of the season and then look for a renowned coach who can lead his long-term project.

Other sources have informed ESPN that in recent days Ralf Rangnick’s name was also on the table after Laporta already considered the German in summer.

However, Laporta already considered in the summer to fire a Koeman who had been hired by the previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu in August 2020.

The president, as ESPN explained in June, polled Hansi Flick, who ended up taking the position of Germany coach, and already considered Roberto Martínez as a candidate. However, after a “period of reflection” he ended up keeping Koeman due to the lack of alternatives and the high cost of his dismissal.

Barça are in a similar situation right now but more and more board members are asking Laporta to fire Koeman after a disappointing start to the season. Barça recently drew against Cádiz and Granada in LaLiga and have suffered 3-0 defeats in the Champions League against Bayern Munich and Benfica.

On Wednesday night, hours after the 3-0 defeat to the Portuguese, Laporta met with two of his trusted men, Mateu Alemany, football director and Rafael Yuste, sports vice president, to analyze the situation and different sources they assure that today there will be more meetings between managers to decide the future of Koeman.

The vice president of Barça, Eduard Romeu, announced days ago that money will not be a problem if the club decides to do without Koeman.

On Wednesday LaLiga reported that Barcelona’s new salary limit has been set at 97.9 million and that it will only be able to spend 25% of what it saves on salaries or transfer commissions to make signings.

However, different sources inform ESPN that these limitations would not affect the hiring of a new coach since Koeman’s dismissal would not be accounted for as a savings but as an expense as it is a terminated dismissal.

Thus, Barcelona could increase its salary limit by 4% to sign a new coach based on article 74 of the economic control regulations.


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