Barcelona dropped something of a bombshell on Tuesday night, just minutes after Jordi Alba had all but delivered the title for Xavi’s side.
The Catalans posted a statement confirming that transfer guru Mateu Alemany was off at the end of the season, a year before his contract expires in 2024.
The rumor mill was quick to whir into action, insisting that Alemany has been tempted to Premier League side Aston Villa by a huge offer that he simply can’t refuse.
Alemany’s departure comes as a shock and will mean some restructuring will need to take place. More may be needed too, with reports claiming Jordi Cruyff could follow Alemany out of the exit door at the end of the season.
The early rumors are that Antonio Cordon will take over from Alemany. Cordon knows Cruyff from working with him with the Ecuador national team, was previously director of football at Monaco and has also worked at Villarreal and, most recently, at Real Betis.
Cordon was also linked with the Villa job earlier this season after leaving Los Verdiblancos back in February. He did a fine job at Betis, with the club winning the Copa del Rey and qualifying for Europe twice in his two and a half seasons at the Benito Villamarin.
But why is Alemany going now? There are many theories flying about, but it certainly seems as though he’s heading to the Premier League and to Aston Villa.
Alemany has reportedly been offered a long-term project with Unai Emery’s side and a deal that Barca simply can’t match. Penny for Philippe Coutinho’s thoughts anyone?
Is there more to it than that? The rumor mill certainly thinks so. Cope claim that there are two reasons why Alemany is leaving. The first is that the sporting director was apparently finding planning for next season “very difficult” because of the club’s financial problems. It’s also thought he was not in favor of re-signing Lionel Messi because it would compromise the club’s accounts.
Barcelona are thought to be keen to bring Messi home once his contract at PSG expires in the summer, although whether it’s achievable remains to be seen.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has already admitted a Messi return will be “very complicated.” All we really do know at this point is that Messi seems destined to move on, particularly after he was hit with a two-week suspension this week.
RAC1 have a similar theory about Alemany. The sporting director was said to be worried about the club’s financial position and “believed that a competitive team could not be made with the salary margin” available.
Barcelona were already set for an intriguing summer, as Alemany himself has openly admitted, before this latest development which certainly takes things up another notch.
Alemany has vowed to help Barcelona out over the summer but whoever takes over will have a heck of a job on their hands.