5 Potential replacements in the event that Barcelona sack Valverde
The alarm bells are ringing around Ernesto Valverde. After a 1-1 draw against Valencia yesterday, the Blaugrana are now winless in 4 La Liga games.
This angst with the manager didn't just start this season. Despite the domestic double won (league/Copa Del Rey) last season, he still does not have the fans on his side.
Under Valverde, the over-dependence on Lionel Messi or Messidependencia has become worrying. Too many times, the brilliance of La Pulga Atomica has been the difference maker. His overtly defensive style of play coupled with an inability to rotate effectively means that Barcelona is not playing at their absolute best level.
President Josep Bartomeu may be forced to make another managerial change if things do not change and the fans turn on the side. Already, the names of certain coaches are already being bandied as potential replacements for the former Athletic Bilbao manager.
#5 Rui Fonseca (Shakhtar Donetsk)
One of the younger coaches making waves in European football, Fonseca is probably the latest high-profile name to emerge from Europe's current hotbed of coaching talent (Portugal). The 45-year-old should be on Barcelona's list if Valverde is to be replaced.
Currently, the manager of Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, Fonseca seems to have hit his peak at the team having won the treble; league, cup, and Super Cup. Noted for his attacking style of play, Fonseca favours a 4-2-3-1 formation. This is one striker, three attacking midfielders, a box-to-box midfielder, a holding midfielder, and a back four.
This means that he could be the one to give Barcelona that extra attacking dimension Valverde has found difficult to put in place. A player like Arturo Vidal would be perfect in his system, as Fred was before he joined Manchester United. His love for attacking football means he would be willing to find a way to fit in Barcelona's attacking talents while not sacrificing defensive solidity.
His Shakhtar team have shown strong resilience in this season's UEFA Champions League coming from 2 goals down to equalize against Lyon and doing same against TSG Hoffenheim.
He is in the mould of Barcelona's last few managerial hires; understated coaches who profess an attacking philosophy. How he will manage the big name stars in the team given his still-growing reputation is the big unknown.
However, Fonseca is a fearless manager who believes in his philosophy. If given the chance to coach a team as big as Barcelona, he won't be fazed and might just be the one Cules have been hankering after.