What’s the story?
Barcelona president Josep Bartemou and the rest of the management have decided to appoint the present Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde as their new manager when Luis Enrique leaves at the end of the season, according to reports in Spain.
The 53-year-old will be given a three-year-contract at the club, and will begin his tenure at the club June first week and will have the final say on the transfers in the summer.
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Ernesto Valvarde, a former player with Barcelona, spend two years at the Camp Nou where he won the European Cup Winners' Cup and the Copa del Rey. His two years at the club were under the legendary Johan Cruyff, and it is safe to say that he would have been baptised in the philosophy of the Catalan giants.
The Spaniard has managed in the La Liga for more than ten years, where he has managed the likes of Athletic Bilbao (in two separate spells), Espanyol, Villarreal, and Valencia
The heart of the matter
Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre recently revealed, “We have already chosen his replacement but we won’t communicate our decision right now out of respect for Luis Enrique,” but it seems that the deal will be announced before the end of the season.
A headstrong coach, with a clear attacking philosophy, and the experience to overhaul an ageing squad, he is a perfect candidate for Barcelona and exactly the type the club were looking for.
Barcelona have two games to go in the League, and at the moment they are at the top of the table due to their superior head to head record against Real Madrid. However, if Real Madrid win their game in hand (or even draw) they will be ahead of their arch-rivals.
If that happens, the only competition Barcelona would be realistically winning will the Copa del Rey. With the success they have had over the last decade and the players at their disposal, fans would be very disappointed with that return.
It is important for Barcelona to have a coach who can rebuild their squad holistically. Valverde has experience in other clubs, and has experience in the ‘Barcelona way’. There might be bigger names available in the market (like Antonio Conte), but at the moment he is the right person to take the club forward.
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