Barcelona reportedly approached Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick to discuss the possibility of replacing Ronald Koeman as manager but were told the 56-year-old is “close” to becoming the manager of the German national team.
According to Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens at ESPN, Barca’s interest in Flick was “fleeting” as the club was quickly informed Flick was off the market and set to replace Low after this summer’s European Championship.
Bayern has already confirmed Flick will leave once his contract expires at the end of the season. The coach has enjoyed a successful spell in charge, winning the Champions League, the Club World Cup, the German Cup and two Bundesliga titles.
However, Barcelona president Joan Laporta and the club’s board “continue to pay close attention to the Bundesliga” and have been impressed “by the tactical developments in the German game and the physical level of the players.”
The report adds that former midfielder Xavi Hernandez “remains an option,” while it is not completely ruled out that Koeman will stay on for another season due to the “lack of credible alternatives.”
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Koeman Under Pressure at Barcelona
There’s no doubt that Koeman is under pressure after seeing Barcelona’s title hopes slip away. The Catalan giants dropped points again on Tuesday in a 3-3 draw at Levante and missed the chance to replace Atletico Madrid as leaders.
The Dutch boss took responsibility for the result after seeing his team throw away a 2-0 half-time lead after a poor second-half performance, as reported by Goal.
“As a coach I am the one most responsible. I am asking myself what we did at half-time, because we had talked about continuing with the intensity and improving things defensively,” he said. Watching the second half, that didn’t happen. We have lowered the intensity. The players, technical staff and coach, we are all sad. Now, we have to prepare for the last two games and prepare ourselves for the next season. But first we have to get over today’s draw, which is a hard thing to do.”
Barca has just two games of the 2020-21 La Liga campaign left. Next up is a visit from Celta Vigo on Sunday before the Catalans finish off at Eibar at Sunday, May 23.
Koeman has already guided Barca to success in the Copa del Rey this season, but there seems little chance the team can pip Atletico and Real Madrid to top spot in the Spanish top flight now.
Xavi Rumors Return
Barca’s difficulties mean rumors that Xavi could return as manager have resumed. The club legend is currently in charge of Qatari side Al Sadd and will shortly renew his contract with the club, according to Diario AS.
However, the two-year contract extension will include a special clause that will allow the coach to leave automatically for free and head back to Barcelona if the Catalans come calling.
Xavi has made no secret of the fact that he dreams of returning to Barcelona but will want to make sure the time is right to return. The 41-year-old has already turned down his former team once because the offer came “too soon” and still lacks top-level managerial experience.
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