Xavi’s recent declaration that he won’t be managing Barca’s first-team after the end of the 2023-24 campaign has opened the floodgates in terms of speculation as to who will be the next manager of the club.
Citing the impossible pressures that Barcelona managers are expected to work under, Xavi just simply threw in the towel.
In truth, he was probably never the right man for the job at the time he took it.
One can imagine Joan Laporta was hoping that lightning might’ve struck twice with Xavi’s appointment. A Pep Guardiola MKII if you will.
However, Xavi’s lack of tactical nous was soon exposed and only the winning of La Liga last season masked his shortcomings.
As soon as the results dried up his inexperience was there for all to see, and he would be the first to admit to his tenure being an experiment gone wrong.
In much the same way as it was for Ronald Koeman before him, and Quique Setien before that.
Evidently, finding the right formula in their manager has proven to be a problem for the board of the club.
Hansi Flick is one of the early front runners for the job having been mentioned on more than one occasion of late.
The soon-to-be 59-year-old would be an interesting choice but not necessarily the right one.
He’s remembered best for his tenure at Bayern Munich, where he lost only seven games in just over 18 months.
Seventy wins from 86 matches gave him an incredible win percentage of 81.4%, and his goal difference of +170 in that time was a major factor in him winning a sextuple during his time in Bavaria.
Lest we forget the magnificent standard of player he had at his disposal, however, and who he was able to call upon at that time.
He won’t have anywhere close to a title-winning squad to inherit from Xavi, should he be Deco’s preferred choice, and his more recent tenure with the German national team might be a better guide as to his suitability at Barca.
Flick struggled in just over two years in the job.
Six losses in 25 matches, coupled with an apparent inability to inspire and lead isn’t what Barcelona need right now.
Flick, were he to even be interested in the Barca job would surely want certain financial guarantees too, and Laporta would be lying if he said he could definitively provide them.
The Barca manager’s role will therefore continue to be one of fighting fires on the pitch and fighting your corner off it.
There may not be time to implement a completely different way of working, and given that Flick is well known for his tactical flexibility and variations in play, that’d surely come as a huge disappointment.
Frankly, whomever decides to accept the position also needs to accept that there’s a long, hard road still ahead.
Hansi Flick doesn’t strike me as the type of character that would be willing to wait a few years to see the fruits of his labour blossom either.
You can never say never in football though, so watch this space...