With the sad news that Tito Vilanova‘s illness is forcing him to step down as Barcelona boss, the question is now, who will be Barcelona’s new coach?
You would expect they will be on the hunt for a new manager who can help them get back to their best after a rather average season by their own high standards. However, there is very few options for Barcelona of managers who are actually without a job currently.
One of the initially mentioned names is Ajax coach, Frank de Boer. At 43, he would be another reasonably young manager with a modern philosophy at Ajax that echoes the similar mentality of Barcelona. The Dutch club strives for a possession-based game with youth playing a big part in that. Having played for the club as a player from 1999-2000, it would be a slightly familiar face for those at the Nou Camp. With few managers available currently, the only problem really would be prizing de Boer away from a contract at Ajax that lasts until 2017. But with the money they possess, such a hurdle really isn’t an issue.
Another ex-Barcelona man is Michael Laudrup. Again, he has taken the philosophy adopted with the Catalan club and fitted in nicely with Swansea City‘s passing style where he won their first major trophy last season. But it is obviously a vastly different task at Swansea to that at the Nou Camp. At 49, he too is still young, which Barcelona seems to take a liking to. It would be strange for Laudrup to be the man, but certainly not unbelievable.
As seen before, Barcelona seem to enjoy promoting from within for their new managers. Luis Enrique could well be the next to continue such an idea. Having played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona for large periods in his career, he has now taken over as Celta Vigo‘s new manager. But again, if he was desired by Barcelona, that surely wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Before taking charge of AS Roma in 2011-12, he succeeded Pep Guardiola as Barcelona B’s coach. He is still believed to be highly regarded at Barcelona and again, it wouldn’t be such a shock.
Finally, Gerardo Martino may be the outstanding experienced choice. Despite having been refined to South American teams, the 50-year-old Argentine has managed the Paraguay national team from 2006-2011 and last season helped Newell’s Old Boys (where Lionel Messi started) win the Primera Division. It may be a slight outside shot, but I wouldn’t rule him out currently.
Various other names have been mentioned recently, such as Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Mancini, but really it is likely to be a choice that is not so obvious to us all, and more a man who suits the build that Barcelona wants.