Barcelona president Joan Laporta is said to have confessed to manager Ronald Koeman that the club are looking to replace him this summer.
Koeman’s future has been up in their air for a while now, with earlier reports suggesting his only hope of staying at Camp Nou would be if no suitable replacement could be found and others claiming the Dutchman is likely to stay.
At the minute, it’s all a bit up in the air, and a meeting between Laporta and Koeman on Tuesday hasn’t helped clear things up either. According to TV3, Laporta was very open with Koeman, for whom he has a lot of respect and admiration for steadying the ship this season, and he confessed that they are indeed looking to replace him.
Laporta asked Koeman for another two weeks to explore other options before coming back to give him a final decision – a tactic the boss sees as simply an attempt to delay the inevitable – but Sport suggest this could actually be just seven or ten days.
However, Koeman’s agent, Rob Jansen, was also present at the meeting and told De Telegraaf that he left with a ‘good feeling’ that the Dutchman will remain at Camp Nou next season, even suggesting Koeman could sign a contract extension.
Koeman’s future appears to depend on whether Barcelona can find a suitable replacement or not. Sport note long-term target Xavi has been ruled out, with the club now focused on other targets like Joachim Low, Marcelo Gallardo, Thierry Henry, Roberto Martinez and academy coach Garcia Pimienta.
The interest in Belgium boss Martinez has since been backed up by ESPN, who state that talks with the Spaniard have already been held.
There’s also some suggestions that Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola is under consideration. Mundo Deportivo name the City man as Laporta’s dream signing this summer or perhaps for 2022 – a claim also reinforced by AS.
With the search for a replacement proving tough, Barcelona are preparing for next season with Koeman in mind and are listening to the boss’ requests in the transfer market. Two of his primary targets, Lyon’s Memphis Depay and Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum, have already agreed to join the club on free transfers.
It’s a bit of a weird situation. Barcelona appear to be committing to Koeman without actually committing to him, and it seems like nobody will know where they truly stand for the next two weeks.