After days of speculation, it’s finally been announced that Ronald Koeman will see out the final year of his two-year contract at the very least.
In truth, if Joan Laporta wasn’t totally convinced by Xavi, or anyone else for that matter, then an amicable arrangement with the Dutchman was the only real option in the interim.
However, it’s a decision that will please some and not others, both from a supporter and a squad perspective.
Let’s take a look at some winners and losers in light of Koeman’s continuity, based on who might reasonably be expected to still be at the club at the start of the 2021/22 campaign...
There may well have been a directive from on high to play Riqui more, and it would at least answer the question as to whether he is the real deal or not if he was given a run in the team.
It’s clear that he isn’t liked by Koeman, however, and with others coming in, there just isn’t a place for him.
So unless he’s still happy with more five-minute cameos....
Let’s be honest... who is going to buy Miralem Pjanic?!
Though he was arguably an unwitting pawn in the deal to take Arthur Melo to Juventus, Pjanic has done nothing whatsoever to justify more minutes in central midfield.
He already knows that he’ll have a problem if Barca aren’t able to ship him out, and he’ll surely only get a chance if injuries dictate.
A decent enough first season in the first team was still peppered by the odd howler.
Without reading too much into his spat with Koeman, there’s a feeling of something bubbling under, and with the signing of Eric Garcia, Barca have decent cover at centre-back.
Emerson Royal will battle Sergino Dest for the right-sided slot, meaning Mingueza is likely to be an impact player from the bench at best.
Though it hasn’t been announced at the time of writing, it would be a surprise if Gini Wijnaldum didn’t soon arrive at the club.
One of the players that Koeman has wanted ever since taking up the position, he’s hardly going to bench him as soon as he’s signed.
Three into two don’t go and Frenkie de Jong more than deserves a starting spot each week.
Aside from Leo Messi, Koeman owes an awful lot to the breakout star of last season.
Pedri’s season was nothing short of sensational and given his importance to the team in general as well as an almost telepathic relationship with Messi, he’ll be one of the first names on the team sheet again.
Though we didn’t get to see the best of the Portuguese in his debut season, he’s not too far off being a top player.
He certainly has the skill set to be a success at Barca, but he needs the time to work on his final ball and composure.
Koeman should allow him that courtesy next season.
Someone else who needs to work on his end product.
A reticence to sign a new contract won’t go down well in the corridors of power either, but there’s no doubting that Dembele gives Barca something that they lack.
Is he a ‘wildcard’? Not at all, though he does need to consistently do the business this coming season.
The only real issue for Koeman is who he drops in place of the French World Cup winner.
Frenkie de Jong
Another standout performer for the side last season, and integral to the way in which Koeman wants his teams to play.
The versatility he’s shown in different roles not only benefits the team but has made him almost indispensable to this point.
Expect him to grow into even more of a leader next season.