Koeman bids farewell to the squad without knowing if he will stay on and Xavi is waiting for solid moves
Barça's coach says goodbye to the squad while waiting for news from Joan Laporta, who has had informal contacts with the former captain in recent days
BarcelonaThe day after closing the season with a sterile victory in Ipurua, the players of the first team of the Barça and the technical team have had lunch in the Ciutat Deportiva. A nice way to say goodbye before starting the holidays. However, at the same time, the last photograph of a group that already knows that it will undergo many changes during the summer, when the new directive of Joan Laporta put in place the "deep" renewal that has in the head for the first squad. Everyone was there except Pedri, who began holidays before his colleagues, and Philippe Coutinho, who is recovering in Brazil of his knee injury.
Before lunch the coach addressed the group. "He took stock of the season, thanked the entire squad and the coaching staff for the work they have done and wished good holidays and good luck to the players participating in the various official competitions such as the European Championship, Copa America, Euro U21 and the Olympic Games", Barca explained in a statement. At the moment, more details have not transcended, nor if the technician has made any explicit reference to his future as a coach. A future that hangs by a thread after the bad end of season of a team that, in just five days, went from being the best positioned to win the league title to being third.
Koeman and his staff staged a suspenseful farewell. They go on vacation after a grueling season, but still do not know if they will return to Sant Joan Despí to command the Barça 21/22. His intention is to fulfill the year of contract that he stills have left. This has been repeated in recent press conferences by the coach, who in Eibar questioned the "level" of the squad he has had to direct. Hours before he had demanded respect for his players. No filters.
The team is going on holidays while in the noble offices they are preparing to start the real work. This next week there must be a meeting between Laporta and Koeman to talk about who leads the locker room next season. Koeman's continuation in charge cannot yet be ruled out, but everything seems to indicate that this will not be the case. The club is looking for a replacement and, as ARA reported, one of the best positioned is Xavi Hernandez, currently coach of Al-Sadd in Qatar and who last week returned home for the first time in two years.
Although the egarense has recently renewed to continue coaching the club where he retired as a player, he is prepared to accept the challenge of returning to Barça to take charge of the sports project. He has an escape clause in case of azulgrana proposal and, despite its link with the former candidate Victor Font, is predisposed to work with Laporta, with whom he has had informal contacts in recent days through people with whom they share trust. However, both parties are in favour of keeping the conversations secret while it is not known what will happen with Koeman and his staff. Hence why they have been denying any negotiations for days. The talks affect planning issues and especially the composition of Xavi's team. The second issue is the one that frustrated the arrival of the ex-captain to the bench when Bartomeu went to look for him after dismissing Valverde.
On the other hand, Barça already knows that Koeman will hardly forgive the remaining year of his contract, which, in case of dismissal, would involve spending eight million, a significant amount considering the hardship that the club drags. After acknowledging that he did not have the president's trust, Koeman said in Ipurua that he "did not think" that Saturday's game would have been "the last game with Barça". The Dutchman believes that he is capable of completing the year he has signed and considers that the Copa del Rey won in Seville against Athletic Club is enough to keep him on the bench at the Camp Nou. He sees himself with the strength to lift the project.