Ronald Koeman set to be new Barcelona manager as Quique Setién is sacked

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  • Quique Setién’s sacking confirmed by club on Monday
  • Former Everton manager will leave Netherlands role

Sid Lowe and Fabrizio Romano –  The Guardian

Ronald Koeman played for Barcelona and was assistant manager between 1998 and 2000. Photograph: Jerry Lampen/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona are set to announce Ronald Koeman as their new manager after Quique Setién was sacked on Monday evening, having lasted just six months in the job.

“The board of directors have agreed that Quique Setién is no longer the first-team coach,” an official statement said. “This is the first decision within a wider restructuring of the first team which will be agreed between the current technical secretary and the new coach, who will be announced in the coming days.”

That coach is set to be Koeman, who is expected to leave his role as Netherlands coach and take over as Barcelona manager later this week. The decision was taken to turn to the Dutchman during a three-hour board meeting at the Camp Nou on Monday, before Setién’s departure was announced.

Koeman has a release clause that allows him to leave the Dutch national team for Barcelona. The 57-year-old has made no secret of his ambition to take charge but he must decide if he wants to do so in far from ideal circumstances exacerbated by the humiliation of their 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.

The former Southampton and Everton manager was approached by Barcelona in January but did not want to walk away from the Netherlands five months before Euro 2020.

Koeman is understood to have been offered a two-year contract but there will be presidential elections in March after the cloub announced they had been brought forward. His continuity would be in the hands of whoever succeeds Josep Maria Bartomeu as president and the leading opposition figure and the favourite to win, Víctor Font, has made it clear that if he is elected his manager would be Xavi Hernández.

Bartomeu’s preference has been the former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and he had been backed by Ramón Planes and Eric Abidal, in charge of the technical secretariat. But it is likely that Abidal, the fourth sporting director that Bartomeu has had, may also be sacked in the coming days and other board members urged the president to rethink owing to Pochettino’s identification with city rivals Espanyol.

Pochettino had previously said he would prefer to go and work on his farm in Argentina than manage Barcelona, although he distanced himself from that remark in an interview with El País last week, insisting: “you never know.”

Faced by pressure from his directors, some of whom have called for him to walk away amidst the crisis and pave the way for new elections immediately, Bartomeu called Koeman to take over. On Sunday night, he departed the Camp Nou and admitted that Setién was “out” and a 14-person board meeting – eight of them at the Camp Nou, six joining online – ratified that decision the following morning although there was still no announcement by mid-afternoon.

The board also discussed the post of sporting director, the restructuring of the squad, with mass departures necessary before any signings can be made, and the possibility of bringing forward presidential elections – with early 2021 among the options. Bartomeu does not plan to face the media but a statement is expected shortly.

 

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