It has been a whirlwind few months if you are a Barcelona fan, and it is not stopping there just yet.
Following La Blaugrana’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night, the future of Ronald Koeman has once again taken centre stage. Reports suggest that President Joan Laporta has given the 58-year-old a mere three games to save his job.
It was always going to be a tough task this season, following the high profile departures of Leo Messi and Antoine Griezmann from Camp Nou, which helped the club slash €145 million off their wage bill amid their dire financial position.
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However, the manner of the performance against Bayern has sent alarm bells ringing amongst the fanbase and the hierarchy.
Eurosport’s Spanish football expert Agustín Galan has been analysing the situation at the club, and explains that despite Koeman and Laporta’s rocky relationship, La Blaugrana may have to persist with the man currently in charge.
“It's not a secret that Ronald Koeman is not Joan Laporta's cup of tea. He tried to sign a new coach for this new season, but the financial situation is so disastrous that this is just non-viable,” Galan says.
“Barcelona are still paying Quique Setién’s settlement (4M €) and sacking Koeman would add 12 million more, so this scenario is highly unlikely, although there has been some news marking the next three La Liga matches as crucial ones for him to keep his job.”
The club’s current financial predicament also means that options to recruit a new coach, should Koeman have his contract terminated, are also limited.

It was a bad night for Barca against Bayern

Image credit: Getty Images

“Given this particular situation, there's only one name that could replace him, Jordi Cruyff, currently working at the club after coaching in China and Ecuador. When he came back to the club after the elections, he assured that he wouldn't be Koeman's replacement,” Galan explains.
Despite Cruyff being tipped for an interim role at Barcelona as a contingency plan, Galan fears the Dutchman is indifferent to the idea.
“He's not interested at all in coaching right now and Sergi Barjuan, Barcelona B coach, is not an option, so there's no choice for Laporta or his board even if they don't like Koeman,” says Galan.
So do Culers just have to accept it and move on? Not quite.
Despite the difficulty in paying off Koeman’s contract should he be relieved of his duties, he should not get a free pass.
Fans are clearly losing faith, as Marca reported that out of a 40,000 ticket quota available for the Bayern Munich match, only 31,213 were taken by supporters.
The apathy is understandable, especially if we look at Barcelona’s approach on Tuesday. It was the first time that the club failed to register a shot on target in a Champions League match.
Koeman’s plan against Bayern Munich was purely for damage limitation. Barcelona sat back and attempted to play long balls from the defence to the forward line - a cardinal sin considering the club’s footballing DNA. Laporta was not impressed at all with the style in that match, according to Spanish outlet Sport.
If it continues, the club’s European campaign will simply fizzle out like last season.

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When asked whether Barça can get out of their current mess, Eurosport’s Spanish football expert said one word - “Patience.”
“Some fans may think that the team would be better when Dembélé, Fati and Agüero come back, but you can't hide the reality. Their veteran players have been struggling for years and the new signings are not exciting except for Memphis,” Galan adds.
“My feeling is that every Barcelona fan would be happy just being competitive -not winning, just competing- in Spain (LaLiga and Copa del Rey) and not being humiliated again in Europe.”
It remains to be seen how long Koeman will last at Camp Nou, but a win in Barcelona’s next La Liga match against Granada is now critical for the Dutchman.
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27/11/2021 AT 19:20