Barca fire Setien with Koeman favourite to lead a Catalan revival

By Andrew Warshaw

August 18 – It was a controversial appointment from the start and, after last Friday’s debacle, arguably football’s most inevitable instant sacking.

Despite having only been the job for little more than six months, Quique Setien has duly been fired by Barcelona three days after the club’s humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League – their worst setback for 80 years.

The Former Real Betis manager only took charge in January when Barca took the surprising decision to sack Ernesto Valverde even though they were top of La Liga at the time.

But Setien, who had never won a single trophy and was reportedly Barca’s third choice, was hopelessly unqualified and was never going to last – just 25 games in fact.

As they sacked Setien, Barca announced new elections for March 2021 saying “profound changes” would be made to the playing squad as part of a “wide-ranging restructuring”

They have wasted no time replacing Setien, with Spanish reports saying they are on the verge of appointing current Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman.

Koeman has a special affinity with Barca fans having played for the club in the early 1990s, winning four straight Spanish league titles from 1991-94. He later became the club’s assistant coach before managing Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord plus English Premier League sides Southampton and Everton and La Liga’s Valencia.

Reports say the decision to appoint the Dutchman was taken during a three-hour board meeting at the Camp Nou on Monday, before Setién’s departure was announced. Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was also in the frame – some might say a better bet in terms of building a new mentality on and off the field – but was apparently ruled out, partly for having previously managed cross-town rivals Espanol.

Koeman’s first task will be to try and persuade Lionel Messi to stay. Messi let rip after the Bayern drubbing and reportedly said he wanted out while veteran defender Gerard Piqué said the club had “hit rock bottom and club needs changes at every level.”

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