|Roberto Martinez||7/1||Paddy Power|
|Erik ten Hag||16/1||Betfair|
*Odds correct as of October 28, 2021
Ronald Koeman was essentially a dead man walking at FC Barcelona this season and he has now been sacked. The Dutchman saw Lionel Messi leave the Nou Camp in the summer thanks to the financial issues at the Catalan club, with the team sitting ninth in the Spanish La Liga table. They have also looked badly off the pace in the Champions League.
Several bookies now have a Next FC Barcelona Manager betting market available, with Barca legend Xavi heading the betting and it appears that an appointment could be imminent according to the latest odds. The Al Sadd manager has been impressive in Qatar and his club legend status could go a long way to securing the role.
Xavi Hernandez is one of the greatest players in Barcelona’s history. No one has made more appearances for the club (although Messi will soon move beyond his former team-mate), with Xavi pulling on the shirt 767 times in all competitions. Ever since he moved into coaching he has been seen as a Barcelona manager-in-waiting.
Xavi ended his playing career with Al Sadd and took charge of the Qatari outfit immediately after hanging up his boots in 2019. He won the Qatar Cup last year and is set to add a league title to his honours list this season, with Al Sadd well clear at the top of the table at the time of writing. It does not really matter what Xavi does in Qatar, though. The biggest strength of his candidacy is his legendary status at the Camp Nou.
There are two potential obstacles. One should be relatively easy for Xavi to clear: his lack of experience. The former midfielder has never managed at the top level before, but neither had Pep Guardiola before he became Barcelona’s greatest ever manager.
The biggest barrier to Xavi getting the Barcelona job could be Xavi himself. He turned down an offer to replace Ernesto Valverde in 2020 because he was unconvinced by the club’s leadership. If that is still the case now that the new regime is in place, Xavi could again reject Barcelona with a view to instead taking charge at some point down the line.
Xavi won La Liga on eight occasions and the Champions League four times, while he also won the 2010 World Cup with Spain and there were two European Championship successes, with the former midfielder recently dipping his toe in the water by taking charge at Al Sadd in 2019.
This club compete in the Qatar Stars League and Xavi has already delivered plenty of success in the Middle East, although he might find it hard to resist the prospect of returning to his native Spain and taking charge at a club which he knows like the back of his hand. It’s no surprise to see the ex-midfielder among the shortlist of candidates.
Next Manager Betting
It’s something of a surprise to see Andrea Pirlo trading as a betting favourite to become the next manager of Barcelona. After all, the Italian hardly covered himself in glory when taking charge of Juventus for a solitary season although perhaps his legendary player status might see him added to any shorlist.
Perhaps Roberto Martinez is a more viable candidate considering that he’s a Spaniard who has demonstrated that he’s able to get a tune out of Belgium on an international stage. This could be a dream move for someone whose majority of managerial experience has come in England.
We did have a surprise candidate heading the Next Barcelona Manager betting market, with Mikel Arteta having traded at 5/2 with Paddy Power although he has now drifted for the job. The Spaniard came through the youth ranks at Barcelona and featured for Barcelona B as a player but never turned out for the first team before signing for Rangers.
The 38-year-old’s managerial career is just starting considering he’s trying to mould Arsenal into a Premier League title-chasing side after being part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching set-up at Manchester City, although he might jump at the chance to replace Koeman considering the potential to establish a legacy at one of the most iconic football clubs in the world.
Arteta has a deal at the Emirates Stadium until 2023 although there are never any guarantees in the world of football management and perhaps an opportunity to manage Barcelona will come up, with this potentially providing the Arsenal head coach to follow in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola who would undoubtedly provide some words of wisdom.
Patrick Kluivert is another candidate on the Barcelona manager betting market who has obvious links with the decorated Spanish team, with the Dutchman having made 182 appearances for Barca and he scored ninety goals, with the 44-year-old having averaged a goal per two matches with this side and he is revered by the fans of this particular club.
Kluivert has been involved managing and coaching high-profile teams for several years, with the Netherlands international having held assistant roles with AZ, Brisbane Roar and NEC, while he’s also been on the touchlines for the Dutch international team, with Kluivert also having been the director of football at Paris Saint-Germain.
The lack of experience of being a first-team manager could count against Kluivert and perhaps he might form part of a coaching backroom rather than actually take a role which could see him out of his depth, although the Dutchman is trading at a single figure price right now.
Barcelona currently have a Dutch manager in charge and perhaps one of Ronald Koeman’s compatriots will follow in his footsteps, with Erik Ten Hag having been in charge of Ajax since 2017, although there might well come a time in the not-too-distant-future when the 51-year-old decides to look for a new challenge with a bigger budget and a better playing squad.
Ten Hag came desperately close to steering Ajax to the 2019 Champions League final after an amazing run which saw Real Madrid and Juventus dumped out en route, with the Dutch side then establishing a semi-final first leg advantage against Tottenham Hotspur before somehow conspiring to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Nevertheless, Ten Hag has plenty to recommend him and the same applies to Luis Enrique who has already enjoyed one successful spell in charge of Barcelona which saw him take charge of the Catalan side between 2014-2017, with the current international manager of Spain having enjoyed a 76% win rate during his time at the Nou Camp.
Enrique won the Champions League in the 2014/15 season and also scooped two La Liga titles along with three Copa del Reys, with the 50-year-old having seen Zinedine Zidane return to Real Madrid as first-team manager and there’s the potential of the Spaniard doing something similar after the delayed Euro 2020 takes place.