Xavi’s Barcelona return as manager appears to be imminent and fans will be expecting similar results to those achieved by Pep Guardiola from a young coach in his first big job… but is he ready?
- Xavi has reportedly agreed a deal with Barcelona to become their new manager
- Barca chiefs reportedly flew to Qatar to negotiate his departure from Al-Sadd
- The former Barcelona player could take over as soon as the start of next week
- Despite being a young coach in his first big job, he will look to revive Barcelona
- Barca have suffered their worst start to a season since the 1987-88 campaign
- Ronald Koeman was sacked after Wednesday night’s defeat by Rayo Vallecano
With reports in Spain emerging that the Barcelona board have flown to Qatar to negotiate Xavi’s departure from Al-Sadd it’s a matter of time before the 41-year-old takes over at the Camp Nou.
The compensation will be minimal, his departure cordial, and he could take over as soon as the start of next week to take charge of a must-win away game in Kiev.
This is a young coach in his first big job. He is charged with the task of reviving the fortunes of the side he graced for over a decade as a player. We have been here before and Barcelona supporters will expect similar results as those achieved by Pep Guardiola.
With the Barcelona board having reportedly flown to Qatar to negotiate Xavi’s departure from Al-Sadd it’s a matter of time before the 41-year-old takes over at the Camp Nou
Despite being a young coach in his first big job, the club legend – who helped them win multiple titles in his 17 years as a senior star – will look to revive the club after poor start
But there are huge gulfs in terms of where Barcelona were 2008 and where they are now and unless patience is shown towards Xavi then he and the club risk wasting the silver bullet of his dream return as first team coach. Xavi seems destined to take charge of the team he played 767 games for but taking on the job now is a risk.
The bar has been set low by his predecessor but he will be inheriting a mess and with very little time or money to put things right quickly and save the season.
Barcelona have suffered their worst start to a season since the 1987-88 campaign
As a result, Ronald Koeman was sacked after Wednesday night’s defeat by Rayo Vallecano
The idealists will say he doesn’t need time or money. Didn’t Guardiola win six trophies in his first season based on homegrown players? But Guardiola was already at the club as B-team coach and for all that he promoted youth teamers Pedro and Sergio Busquets he was also given new signings Dani Alves and Gerard Pique in the transfer market before the season started.
Xavi will have to see the club through to January with what there is and even in the winter window Barcelona’s finances will not allow for much activity. The squad he inherits is a massive downgrade on the players Pep coached.
When Guardiola took over he inherited Leo Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry. Xavi will have to get the best out of Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay while hoping Ansu Fati can stay fit.
Sergi Barjuan has been officially announced as the interim boss on Barcelona’s website
Barcelona fans will be expecting the same results that Pep Guardiola achieved (above)
Ousmane Dembele is the sort of quick winger Xavi wants at the top of his team but the French international is two months from being able to sign for a new club as a free agent and the ensuing contract stand-off might mean he can’t be picked.
Luuk de Jong clearly doesn’t fit the Xavi template and he is now likely to leave in January.
There is talent in midfield. But it’s young talent. Where Guardiola had Xavi and Iniesta approaching their peak years Xavi will have Gavi, 17, Pedri, 18 and Nico 19. It’s a Barcelona midfield for the future; he might have to make it work now.
Guardiola was already at the club as B-team coach and for all that he promoted youth teamers Pedro and Sergio Busquets he was also given new signings Dani Alves and Gerard Pique
When Guardiola took over he inherited Leo Messi (above), Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry
And he would doubtless also have preferred to take over without any ex-team-mates still playing. Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets were once shoulder to shoulder with him in the dressing room, now he has to manage the final seasons of their careers.
None of this overly worries Barcelona supporters who see the positives outweighing the negatives. Xavi is not Ronald Koeman and if he can get better performances from top internationals such as Marc Andre ter Stegen and Frenkie de Jong, and inspire the young midfielders then there will be an inevitable improvement.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta will give a press conference on Friday when he will present the club’s interim coach Sergi Barjuan. Barcelona need the ‘interim’ period to be as short as possible so that Xavi can start as soon as possible.
There are few bigger names in Barcelona’s history. But the job is every bit as huge.
Xavi will have to get the best out of Barcelona’s Sergio Aguero (above) and Memphis Depay