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Ronald Koeman at Barcelona: the new manager in charge of a crisis

Written by Sport, Sport Features

FC Barcelona have announced the signing of Ronald Koeman, a former player from the 80’s, as their new head coach on a two-year contract.

A few days after the absolute demolition they received from Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals, the Catalan club sacked Quique Setién. Of the three front runners for the position of new manager, Koeman came out on top. But is he really the best option for a team that have been struggling to win?

Koeman’s impact at his new club has already been felt, and not in good way. Indeed, a few days after his meeting with Koeman, Lionel Messi informed the press that it was a turning point in his decision to hand in a transfer request.

Reports say that Koeman told the six-time Ballon d’Or winner: “your privileges in the squad are over, you have to do everything for the team”

The news of Messi’s transfer request shocked the footballing world, and the debate around the decision to sign Koeman, has become even more heated.

The former Netherland’s manager is quite difficult to judge. He’s capable of doing great things with teams you wouldn’t normally expect: Southampton in 2014, Ajax in the early 2000’s and of course, the Dutch squad over the past few years.

His qualities are undeniable: he can coach, he is used to the big stage, he has played and coached in different leagues all over Europe and more importantly, he knows La Liga very well. All of this makes him an obvious choice for a team like Barcelona, who are looking for an experienced coach. He seems to be the perfect fit for a team that have been struggling to win.

Nonetheless, some of his decisions have been difficult to understand. In a similar vein to this year, his arrival at Valencia in 2007 was directly followed by an exodus of top players at the club. At Everton in 2017, the sale of Lukaku could also be considered a poor decision. Moreover, the signings of players such as Klaassen was terrible.

Nevertheless, Messi’s transfer saga is not over. Nothing official has been announced, although a few teams (such as Manchester City) have been mentioned by Messi’s family. The Messi case will be important, as it will reveal whether Barcelona have made the right decision about Koeman. There are few doubts about his talent and ability to coach, but his previous transfer choices have been questionable. At a club like Barcelona, with such high expectations, this could prove to be problematic.

Featured image: from @RonaldKoeman via Twitter

Last modified: 1st September 2020

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