Former Everton boss and currently Netherlands national team manager Ronald Koeman is the top candidate to take over Quique Setien’s job at Camp Nou as he exits Barcelona following the club’s biggest defeat in Europe. Koeman is preparing to guide the Netherlands next year for UEFA Nations League, 2022 World Cup qualifying and Euro 2020 title chase.
After being dethroned as La Liga champions by arch-rivals Real Madrid, the disaster in Lisbon happened when German giants Bayern Munchen thrashed the Catalan 8-2 an 8-2 Champions League quarter-final match last week. It is also learnt that Barcelona did not make it in Copa del Rey quarter-finals and Supercopa de Espana semi-finals, ending their season without a trophy.
Koeman previously revealed his Netherlands contract compose of a clause that allows him to leave for Camp Nou following Euro 2020. However, the European Championship has been pushed back 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Contacted in January to succeed Ernesto Valverde, Koemanturned down a proposal from director of football Eric Abidalwith the Euro 2020 approaching.
In June, Koeman – who won four La Liga titles and the European Cup during his time at Camp Nou – had told a Spanish radio show: “Everyone knows it’s my dream to coach Barca”. Koeman has always said he would remain in charge of Netherlands until after Euro 2020. However, with his “dream job” at reach, he is likely to accept the offer since Netherlands has almost 10 months to look for a new boss.
The 57-year-old is a club legend due to his winner in the 1992 Champions League final against Sampdoria at Wembley. He represented Barcelona between 1989 and 1995, played 254 times and scored 83 goals. He won the European Cup in 1992 and also won five league titles and the Copa del Rey. Between 1998 and 2000, Koeman was assistant manager at Barcelona.
Koeman is the only player to have both played for and managed the “Big Three” of Dutch football: Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. He also coached Benfica, led Valencia to victory in 2007-08 Copa del Rey and and managed Premier League clubs Southampton and Everton in the 2010s. In 2018, Koeman was appointed manager of the Netherlands national football team on a four-and-half-year contract
However, Koeman’s potential appointment may not be receivedwell by the fans as he was involved both a player and manager for local rivals Espanyol. Spanish football expert Balague says former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has “been approached”, while Barcelona legend Xavi and former Juventuscoach Massimiliano Allegri also named as potential options.
Last year, the Dutch team needed only a point to qualify for their first major tournament since coming third at the 2014 World Cup when they finished in a goalless draw with Northern Ireland. In March, a decision was made by the UEFA, as the most glorious 24-team European Championship was called-off and will resume after a year.