The position of Ronald Koeman as Barcelona coach hangs by a thread despite the club recently giving the Dutchman the dreaded vote of confidence, according to a report.
Barcelona have taken seven points from their opening three games this season. And it’s not been a bad start as the Catalan giants begin life after Lionel Messi.
However, despite president Joan Laporte giving Koeman his public backing, reports in Spain claim he is perilously close to the axe.
Indeed, history tells us that presidents offering votes of confidence to managers in Spain typically ends in sackings not too far down the line.
And Koeman’s failure to fulfil to push for the LaLiga title last season could yet come back to haunt him. They finished third last season, some seven points behind champions Atletico Madrid.
The brand of football has also been called into question, as has his willingness to bring forward enough of their top youngsters.
As such, the Daily Express claims the club are considering three potential options should the axe fall on Koeman.
Top of their list of candidates is former midfielder Xavi. As one of their most successful-ever players, he won eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies.
Having earned his stripes by winning the Qatar Stars League this season, he remains top of their list.
Barcelona are also said to have Ajax coach Erik ten Hag under consideration. He was courted by Tottenham this summer before eventually signing a new deal.
However, the Express reckons he’s a candidate they could turn to if the axe fell on Koeman.
And finally, the report claims Belgium boss Roberto Martinez could prove a surprise option.
Like Koeman, another former Everton boss, Martinez is said to have impressed Barcelona’s hierarchy with his attack-minded approach with Belgium.
And with Martinez hailing from Catalonia, it may yet prove a welcome homecoming for the FA Cup winnng coach.
Koeman gets Laporte backing
Laporte, however, publicly continues to offer his support for Koeman.
Speaking recently at the press conference to welcome Luuk de Jong to the Nou Camp, Laporte was adamant over the coach.
“Everyone has a way of dealing with each other, I deal with everyone in a direct and clear way,” Laporta said.
“He has my full support. And my respect. If I have gone too far, it’s because I like to talk about football. I am a football fan and I can comment on some aspects.
“And here Ronald knows that he has my support, and if I have gone too far I will try to control myself without abandoning my idea of how Barcelona should play.”