Five candidates to replace Koeman at Barcelona

Robin Bairner
Luis Enrique has been linked with a return to Barcelona

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is closer to the sack than ever after his side produced a lamentable 1-1 draw with Granada in La Liga.

Koeman was reportedly told to win the fixtures against Granada, Levante and Cadiz, which take place over a six-day period, in order to save his job.

He fell at the first hurdle – and it might have been worse for him had Ronald Araujo not netted a late equaliser.

Not only was the result bad, but the performance also epitomised the anti-Barcelona approach he has been panned for.

In the last 15 minutes of the match, Barcelona sent in cross after cross to Luuk de Jong and makeshift centre forward Gerard Pique.

Unsurprisingly, Barcelona have been drawing up a shortlist of coaches to replace Koeman, who oversaw a thumping 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week.

Here are five possible candidates for the role:

Francisco Javier Garcia Pimienta

La Sexta reports that recently sacked reserve team boss Garcia Pimienta could return to the club and indeed is enthusiastic over the prospect of taking the role.

Indeed, it is not outside the realms of possibility. He may not be a big name but Barca have a long history of promoting from within to preserve their identity, while he has previously worked with many of the young players who will be promoted into the senior team in the months ahead.

Furthermore, he would represent a relatively cheap option, particularly pertinent given the expense Barca would incur sacking Koeman.

Jordi Cruyff

The son of Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff, the former Netherlands midfielder started his career at Barca and went on to play for Manchester United but never hit the heights of his father.

Similarly, his coaching career has been less than stellar. He has taken charge of the likes of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Shenzhen, while he also had a spell in charge of Ecuador.

Certainly has ‘Barcelona DNA’ but otherwise his CV is lacking.

Roberto Martinez

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez linked with Barcelona job

After a rather undistinguished playing career, Martinez has made his name in management. Worked wonders at Swansea, Wigan and Everton before graduating to the Belgium national team job. He has kept his adopted country at the top of the FIFA Ranking but has struggled to get them to perform in major tournaments.

Meanwhile, he has not experience of playing or coaching at a club of anything like the size of Barcelona.

His footballing philosophy matches, but a lack of experience could be crucial.

Luis Enrique

Presently in charge of Spain, Luis Enrique has already had one stint as Barcelona head coach from 2014-17. During that time, he twice won La Liga, picked up three Copas del Rey and spearheaded the club to Champions League success in 2015 – their last title at that level.

Has also worked with the reserve team previously and has experience abroad, having also coached Roma.

Xavi

The man that Barcelona fans most want to see back at the club, Xavi embodies everything that Laporta wants Barca to be.

He is an academy graduate who played the duration of his top-level career with the club and was the very definition of the Blaugrana’s tiki-taka style.

Has been in charge of Al-Sadd since 2019, and though he signed a new contract before the summer, Barcelona’s plight could be enough to attract him back to Spain.