As reported by Football.London, Josep Maria Bartomeu has admitted that Barcelona are open to the return to Pep Guardiola. Speaking to La Repubblica, the club president stated, “It doesn’t depend on me. It was Pep who decided to leave, but the door will always be open for him at Barca.” But do the Catalans really need him?

Barcelona’s struggles under Valverde

Ernesto Valverde has enjoyed a mixed time at Barcelona since arriving at the club back in 2017. He helped the club win back to back Spanish league titles, often being one step ahead of arch-rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. The Catalans also won the double during his first season in charge, which is quite a remarkable achievement.

However, since then, Barcelona have gradually declined, often failing to perform without the services of their star players. They have also appeared overreliant on the services of ageing stars, which is quite a concern, especially at a time when the club must make a transition.

Although the Spanish giants have mostly performed well, with players Frenkie de Jong, Ansu Fati and Carles Perez making their respective breakthroughs, Barcelona’s struggles against high-pressing oppositions indicate that the club may not be ready to impress in the UEFA Champions League just yet.

How does Guardiola fit in at Barcelona?

Barcelona are in a state of transition. While older and experienced players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique among many others near the end of their respective careers, it’s time for the young guns to build their own identity.

The return of Guardiola, in that regard, would help Barcelona start from scratch. The Spaniard was the one who invented the Juego de posicion play, the blueprint of which has pretty much remained at the club even after his departure. He can, therefore, not only continue his legacy but also write a new chapter to his incredibly successful career.

Indeed, Guardiola, despite his fair shape of problems in the UEFA Champions League, has won almost everything after leaving Barcelona. His familiarity with success, therefore, can help Barcelona return to the top of the European football tree, especially with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich struggling to stamp their authority at the moment.

As far as the coach is concerned, he has had a difficult start to the season at Manchester City. And should he fail to win the Premier League or the Champions League title this season, it would perhaps be wiser for him to leave the Etihad in the summer, paving the way for him to return to Catalonia.

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.