The two major victims of Koeman's Barcelona spell

Martin Macdonald
Ronald Koeman’s representatives fire cryptic criticism to Barcelona over Dutchman’s treatment

Barcelona have made a poor start to the new season, winning less than half of their opening La Liga matches and suffering two straight losses in the Champions League.

The performances in the Champions League have been particularly worrying for coach Ronald Koeman, as both Bayern Munich and Benfica won 3-0 against the Blaugrana with ease.

It does appear that, for the moment, the Dutchman is safe in his job after a couple of meeting with president Joan Laporta, who said before the loss against Atletico Madrid on Saturday:

“Koeman will stay," he said, as reported by Fabrizio Romano.

"He will continue to be the coach regardless of tonight game result. He deserves a margin of confidence, he’s a Barcelona legend. I appreciate how he has accepted to coach the club in these difficult times”

Two players who will likely be upset at the news that Koeman is set to stay will be Riqui Puig and Samuel Umtiti.

Does Puig have a future at Barcelona?

When Miralem Pjanic was moved on in the summer, Riqui Puig would have been expecting more game time under Koeman.

However, the talented young Spaniard is clearly not fancied by Koeman, who has now promoted Gavi and Nico Gonzalez into senior positions ahead of Puig in the pecking order at Camp Nou.

Ahead of the recent match against Granada, Koeman explained why Puig hadn't featured too much this campaign.

He needs to improve many aspects of his game," he said.

Riqui Puig

Riqui Puig

"He warmed up the other day because he had a chance of coming on, but I had to bring on someone else because of the injury to Jordi Alba.

"He has to work hard just like any other young player."

So far in 2021/22, Puig has played a paltry 72 minutes of football, and although he is reportedly keen to stay at Barcelona, the presence of Koeman will lead to him considering his future as long as the current coach is in place.

Does Umtiti have a future at Barcelona?

Barcelona's financial situation means that they are desperately attempting to lower their wage bill to meet new La Liga regulations.

This is why Lionel Messi was forced to leave, with high-earners Antoine Griezmann and Pjanic were also sent out on loan to Atletico and Besiktas.

Another player the club attempt to get rid of in the summer transfer window was Umtiti, even offering to pay off the Frenchman rather than keep him around on his current high salary.

Samuel Umtiti

Samuel Umtiti

Umtiti's Barca career has been ravaged by injury over the past couple of seasons and under Koeman he has started just six league matches.

All of those starts came last season as he is yet to play a single minute of senior football in 2021/22 despite recovering fully from a knee injury.

According to Sport, Umtiti is of the opinion that he could help Barca in their current low ebb, but Koeman would rather stick with the likes of Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo.