- Club directors caught Xavi off-guard with job offer.
- Valverde is now in untenable position.
- Barcelona creates a crisis of their own making after Xavi rejection
By offering club legend, Xavi, the coach’s position, FC Barcelona has shown an extreme lack of class. Ernesto Valverde deserves to go, but not like this. The club now runs the risk of this season turning into a disaster.
When Barcelona club legend, Xavi Hernandez, agreed to take a meeting in Qatar with Oscar Grau and Eric Abidal, he knew the talk would center on the coach’s position. What he didn’t know was that they would offer him the job there and then.
Valverde’s most recent example of proving himself to be a master of ripping defeat from the jaws of victory set him up for the sack. But a club of Barcelona’s standing should not be going around offering an already filled position to another coach.
Valverde Should Walk
There’s no greater indignity in the world of high-end coaching than having your employer openly offering your job to another coach before they have the good grace to fire you.
Ernesto Valverde appears to be a decent man and this must hurt him more than anybody. His pride is no doubt telling him to say. Quite possibly his lawyers too so that he gets a fatter payoff. But if the man is as proud and dignified as he appears on the sideline, he should simply walk away.
His position is completely untenable. He is a dead man walking. And while Valverde may be the only one who comes out of this with any honor, he will just make himself look silly if he doesn’t walk away now with his head held high.
Where Does This Leave Barcelona?
In a bit of a mess to be honest. The board has shown a massive lapse of judgment in offering the job to a man who wasn’t ready to take it on. Any such offer should only have been made with the implicit understanding that its acceptance was a formality. The fact it wasn’t makes the club look poorly managed and presents the organization in a bad light.
This move is also unlikely to go down well with a very strong group of veteran players who have not been afraid to call out the board in the past. No doubt the likes of Pique, Busquets and Messi would have been happy to have their old captain return as coach, but they have also been open in their support for Valverde.
This move makes it look like Barcelona is panicking and on the verge of a crisis. Things were not going great before this decision was made, but this has only made the situation worse.
Could Xavi Still Take Over?
Yes, but that couldn’t happen until the summer. The club now has to make a decision on whether they want to wait or go for another high-profile replacement.
Pochettino’s name has suddenly come to the fore but he has a strong history with Barcelona’s cross-town rivals Espanyol. He has also publicly stated that this loyalty would prevent him from coaching Barcelona.
The other candidates are frankly a little underwhelming. Koeman is a club legend and is doing well with the Netherlands, but his last club job with Everton was a complete disaster. Massimiliano Allegri could be a good option but is his style really one that blends well with the history of Barcelona? Not really.
The best option would be to give the job on an interim basis to Barcelona B coach, Francisco Javier García Pimienta. The club could then go back for Xavi in May. He would then have the luxury of a full pre-season and transfer window to work with before setting about the task of taking Barcelona back to the very top.
With Luis Suarez ruled for four months and unnecessary chaos going on around the coach, it looks like this current season is in danger of being consigned to the dustbin by the second week of 2020.