Thursday, February 9, 2023

Barcelona Set To Sack Valverde Today: 3 Replacement Options They Could Explore Including Ten Hag

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

According to RAC 1 (via Mirror), FC Barcelona are poised to sack Ernesto Valverde as manager today after failing to win the domestic double this season. The Spaniard was culpable for overseeing Barcelona’s tragic 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League.

This could bring about a massive change in the Catalan camp and in this article, we will discuss three managers Barcelona should target as a potential replacement for Valverde next season.

Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag has arguably been the best manager in Europe this season, having managed to guide Ajax to the semi-final of the Champions League. Their road to the semi-final included impressive wins over Juventus and Real Madrid before they eventually lost to Tottenham Hotspur due to the away goal rule.

Aside from their excellent run in this coveted tournament, ten Hag also led Ajax to their 34th Eredivisie title. But most importantly, it is the way how the 49-year-old has nurtured a group of talented young players and managed to help them work as a coherent unit, that makes ten Hag one of the hottest coaching prospects in Europe.

For Barcelona, he could be an ideal replacement given the similarities between Ajax and Barcelona’s footballing philosophies. He is also proficient when it comes to nurturing young players into world-class individuals – something that could benefit the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and his former student, Frenkie de Jong.

Ronald Koeman

Former Everton and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman will be an excellent replacement for Valverde given his familiarity with Barcelona and its ethos. He played for the Calatan outfit for six years during 1989 to 1995, notably scoring in the European Cup final against Sampdoria in 1992. Hence, the Dutchman is unlikely to have any problem in integrating to Barcelona.

Koeman is an excellent leader, and his tactical setup is extraordinarily detail-oriented. He is also a respected figure in Catalonia, which could help him assert his dominance in the Barcelona camp.

Koeman is currently managing the Netherlands national team, where he has helped the Oranje rise from the ashes after failing to secure qualification to the 2018 World Cup as well as the 2016 European Championship.

Laurent Blanc

Laurent Blanc is the only free-agent on this list. The Frenchman was relieved of his duties as PSG manager at the end of the 2015/16 campaign after failing to lead La Parisien to Champions League glory. That being said, he could be an ideal candidate for Barcelona for several reasons.

When it comes to managing teams like Barcelona or Real Madrid, the ability to maintain a team-chockful of egos becomes quite essential. And that’s where Blanc excels at, to be honest. The Frenchman, though not as successful as his counterparts, is someone who might be able to help these Barcelona players work as a collective unit.

He is also a tactically astute coach, who loves to inspire his team to play an attacking-oriented game. And given the fact that he will be available for free this summer, Barcelona could make a move for Blanc.

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