FC Barcelona: Who should replace Ernesto Valverde if he gets sacked?
Ernesto Valverde's time at Barcelona can be summed up as boring in one word. Defensive tactics have constantly held back the team from reaching its true potential given the talent pool the squad boasts of. His team selection is rarely exciting, hasn't brought any youth players through as such and has failed in the Champions League, his main test in the season.
It is safe to say that Valverde has been really lucky this season to find his team in the position they are currently. Top of the table in La Liga with a comfortable five-point cushion. Back in September, Barcelona had gone a whopping 4 games without a win, getting three draws and being humbled 2-1, by lowly Leganes. If not for an even more dismal start to the season from Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, Valverde would have found himself under a lot more pressure.
Phillipe Coutinho, on whom the club spent a whopping £142 million on, finds himself at the fringes of the squad with the manager unable to devise a way to get the players he has. Now rumoured to be on his way out, Valverde is the one to be blamed for this colossal mismanagement of the club's most expensive signing.
Valverde and the board together are trying to make Barcelona go the Real Madrid route of galactico signings. First Dembele, then Coutinho, Barcelona is now constantly linked with only big name signings which were a rarity in the past. The style of play in unwatchable at times. Valverde has successfully taken Barcelona's philosophy and flushed it down the toilet.
If not for the form that Suarez and Messi are in, Barcelona would have ended the season with a mediocre midtable finish. He hasn't been able to fix the team's defensive issues either with the team conceding 20 goals already. In contrast, Barcelona conceded 29 in the whole of last season.
Valverde has done the bare minimum and won trophies that Barcelona would be expected to win, with the squad it boasts of. In Europe, where Valverde's lack of courage is on clear display, it's on show why he isn't cut out for a club of the stature of Barcelona.
That being said, it is just a matter of time before he gets the sack and here are 3 managers who'd bring back beautiful football to Camp Nou.
#1 Quique Setien
Real Betis have been a revelation this season, inconsistent at times, but always putting on a show for their fans. Fast, fluid and exciting would be a short description of the football that is being played under the tutelage of Quique Setien.
A tactician in his playing days, he holds his principles and footballing philosophy close to his heart. A rarity to see his side sit back and play defensive football, no matter who their opponents are. A high-risk approach no doubt, but when it all falls into place, it is a work of art.
Setien's side usually lineup in a 3-5-2 formation and occasionally shifting to a 4-3-3 for the odd game. Usually, Mandi and Sidnie play on either side of the ball playing Batra who is responsible for passing the ball to the midfielders or carrying the ball forward and playing long balls to the marauding full-backs, Francis Guerro and Junior Firpo. Guardado and Carvalho sit in midfield, allowing Lo Celso to make forward runs and join in the build-up of play.
A prime example of this was their 4-3 victory of Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Setien came with a plan and his side executed it to perfection. Stretching the defensive and overpowering the midfield, he came and exposed everything wrong in Valverde's system.
Although Setien's style of play costs them at times, it is down to the fact that he doesn't have the quality of players to play this style of football for the entire game. His style of play with Barcelona's squad could only mean beautiful football and trophies.