Barcelona looks to Belgium coach to take over the club next season.
The end of the 2018/19 season is almost here, with only the two UEFA finals to be played, it is now time for reflection and for clubs to start thinking about the future. That's exactly what FC Barcelona should start doing from now on, after their season crumbled in the last few days.
Barcelona is very clear that one of the focal points of this "end of the season" crisis is on the bench and they have started negotiations to be prepared for any contingency. It all points towards Ernesto Valverde's time at Barcelona coming to an end.
That's why FC Barcelona is looking for a replacement. And it seems they already have a first candidate for the job. Is it Ten Hag, the revolutionary manager, who brought success to Ajax in Holland and Europe? Is it Allegri, who doesn't have a club after leaving Juventus? Or could it be... Mourinho?
Surprisingly, it is none of these. Just a few days after the Copa del Rey disaster (FC Barcelona lost 2-1 against Valencia), the club contacted with the Belgian Federation of Football to inquire about the appointment of Roberto Martinez, former coach of Everton and who did an outstanding job with Belgium in the previous World Cup in Russia (Obtained third place, after beating England).
Meanwhile, Barça's president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, still has "a vote of confidence" for Ernesto Valverde. Even after the Cup final defeat, the president exculpated the coach in a sign that he still believes in the Spanish coach. Anything could happen, however, and Bartomeu knows that, the president will have to make a final decision that will be crucial to determine the sporting future of the entity.
FC Barcelona wants to meet with Ernesto Valverde to analyse everything that happened during the season and reach the best agreed formula for all parties. The work done by Valverde and his coaching staff is highly valued, but the negative reaction of the public to its possible continuity is also being taken into account.
At this time, there is nothing definitive and they want to listen to Valverde before making any final decision. The Txingurri finished the Spanish Cup final very depressed, but assured that he had the strength to continue. It's for this reason that an agreement should be reached with the coach in the event that Barça maintained the position of relieving the bench.
The option of Roberto Martinez is one that creates consensus in the board and the club's reports about him are very positive. The name of the Catalan coach had already been on the table in the past, but had never been more than a passing thought.
Roberto Martinez has spent most of his coaching career in England, where he has led teams such as Swansea, Wigan and Everton. In August 2016, he was hired as Belgian coach and took third place in the last World Cup in Russia. A great manager who bets on an attacking football and declares himself an admirer of Cruyff.
He has recently said that he would not commit himself to "anyone" without speaking first with the Belgian federation, according to newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' published on Tuesday (28th May) on the alleged interest of Barcelona in his recruitment.
The newspaper, which echoes the apparent interest that the Spanish sports press attributes to Barcelona in the hiring of Martinez to replace Ernesto Valverde, does not offer further evidence of the Catalan coach and defines the coach's response as "cryptic".
We will have to wait and see if there will be anything more than a contact. So far, it's just a rumor like many others but it seems that Roberto Martinez would have already given the OK to a possible operation for the future and is waiting for "things to happen."