Eyebrows were raised all over the place yesterday when the transfer mill cranked into gear and delivered reports that Oscar Garcia had emerged as the latest contender for the Barcelona job.
Oscar Garcia - really? And yet while his name being thrown into the fray was a surprise it’s maybe more of a shock that it hadn’t happened before.
After all, this is a man with the so-called “Barcelona DNA” that seems so vital – but what could he bring to Camp Nou?
Of course Garcia knows what it takes to play for a club like Barcelona, he joined the club as a nine-year-old and stayed until he was 27.
He played under Johan Cruyff and alongside Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique and says he learnt plenty from the legendary Dutchman.
“I grew up with the Barcelona mentality and the Barcelona philosophy,” he said in an interview with The Independent back in 2013.
"You can see that most of the players that [Cruyff] had, when he was our coach, most of us are managers now because we learned a lot. We are trying to teach our players what he taught us.”
After hangings up his boot Garcia returned to Barcelona coaching Juventil A to treble success in 2011, working with players like Rafinha and Gerard Deulofeu, and trying to instil what he had learnt from playing under one of the legends of the game.
“One of the amazing things I remember was before matches when he [Cruyff] explained what he thought would happen in the game,” he said.
“The players, we thought it was crazy. But most of the time, it happened.
“In Barcelona all the teams, from the youngest upwards, play with this same style, the same formation. It is important for young players to understand how the first team is playing and try to do the same.”
Garcia was lined up to replace Luis Enrique at Barcelona B, but the board overruled the decision and he ended up going on to have a varied managerial career, winning a title in a short-lived spell with Maccabi Tel Aviv before another brief spell at Brighton and then heading to Watford.
Medical reasons saw his spell with the Hornets curtailed early, but speaking before taking on his current post at Red Bull Salzburg he insisted those problems are in the past.
"I'm perfect in terms of health, I can do everything. I can have a normal life and obviously I can return to football management,” he said.
"I don't understand life without football. I have been involved in football since I was six years old and I'll keep being involved.”
Now at Red Bull Salzburg, he won the double in his first season and has his side currently 12 points clear at the top of the table.
Garcia has a contract with the club until the end of next season and knows exactly how he wants his teams to play.
“You need the ball, but to also know what to do with it,” he said. “The ball has to run, but it doesn’t mean that the player has to run as much as it, even though it’s evident the player must be very well prepared to enter such dynamic.
"You need physical work with a great focus on the right mentality. You must be really prepared for it and must be willing to give your best for the idea. When you see how the players respond is when you know you got things right.”
This is not the first time the question of returning to Barcelona has raised it’s head either and Garcia is pretty clear what his answer would be.
“If they ask me if I wanted to, the answer is evident. It wouldn’t be for the money or the prestige or anything else: Being considered to coach the club of your life is priceless,” he said.
“If that ever happens, I can’t tell. I have no idea. Sometimes, life changes around you in a second. And someone opens a door you never even knew was there.”