Barcelona manager Quique Setien’s future remains unclear as the Catalan giants could end the season without silverware.
Barcelona, who are already out of the Copa del Rey, are currently second in La Liga table, four points adrift of league leaders Real Madrid, with only two games remaining.
While in the Champions League, there is a high possibility of the Blaugrana squaring up against a European heavyweight in the quarter-finals, if they get past Napoli in the first place. And given Barcelona’s recent form, Napoli could very well end Lionel Messi and company’s journey in the Round of 16 stages.
Barcelona hired Quique Setien back in January after sacking Ernesto Valverde, who was in charge of the Catalans since the summer of 2017. But after only 21 games in charge, several Spanish outlets are claiming that Setien might be on his way out of the Camp Nou if he fails to deliver a trophy this season.
So, with Quique Setien’s future still hanging in thin air, let us take a look at the three possible candidates, who can replace the former Real Betis manager next season.
#3 Mauricio Pochettino:
Former Tottenham Hotspur manager, Mauricio Pochettino’s name came out of nowhere to be linked with Barcelona back in January, with Quique Setien eventually taking the lead role at the club.
As per Guillem Balague, a renowned Catalan journalist, Pochettino was one of the top preferences of Barcelona sporting director, Eric Abidal to replace Ernesto Valverde as the manager.
But as the Argentine tactician wanted more time in assessing the project in detail, Barcelona rushed into appointing Quique Setien to replace Valverde.
In 290 odd matches in charge of Tottenham, Pochettino took Spurs to new heights.
The 48-year-old introduced a high-pressing and stylish brand of football in north London and contributed immensely in developing young academy players.
Under Mauricio Pochettino’s managerial watch, Tottenham secured four successive top-four finishes in the Premier League.
In addition, Pochettino guided Spurs to their first-ever Champions League final appearance last year, a feat which was unthinkable during the time of his appointment back in 2014.
Although the Argentine himself admitted three years back that he will never manage Barcelona being an Espanyol fan, but three years in football is a long, long time, and Pocchettino would certainly like to manage a bunch of highly-talented footballers at the Camp Nou.
#2 Ronald Koeman:
Alongside Mauricio Pochettino, another name which was thoroughly discussed as Ernesto Valverde’s replacement was former Barcelona player Ronald Koeman. The 57-year-old tactician has been linked with a possible return to the club for quite some time now.
The current Netherland manager has managed nine clubs so far in his career. Soon after his retirement as a player, the Dutchman became a member of the coaching staff for the Netherlands at the 1998 World Cup.
Ronald Koeman was also appointed as the assistant coach of Barcelona in 1999, before being employed as the head coach of Vitesse in 2000.
Ajax, Benfica, PSV, Valencia, AZ, Feyenoord, Southampton, Everton, and now the Netherland national team followed in that order, and Koeman as a manager, added multiple feathers to his already illustrious career.
So, with loads of experience under his belt, Ronald Koeman ticks all the boxes to become the next Barcelona manager if Quique Setien walks out of the Camp Nou door next season.
The 40-year-old is currently plying his trade as a manager of Al Sadd, a Qatari first division side. The Spanish legend joined Al-Sadd as a player soon after calling it a day for Barcelona back in 2015, following the Catalan giants’ second historic treble.
Since his appointment as Al Sadd’s manager in 2019, Xavi has only been in charge of the Qatari first division side for 28 matches until now, registering 15 wins and 9 draws in the process.
Despite having very little experience in the field of management, Xavi is highly tipped to become the next Barcelona manager.
Although some still doubt Xavi’s credibility as a manager, Barcelona president, Josep Bartomeu has insisted that the former midfielder will return to the Camp Nou “sooner or later”.
Bartomeu revealed to TV3 in one of his recent interviews:
“Xavi will be Barca’s coach, sooner or later. But right now we are not looking for a coach, we are with Quique.”