Why Ronald Koeman is the ideal successor to Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona
Ronald Koeman is no new name in the managerial world, but probably isn't the first name that would come to the mind of a football fan when asked to name the top managers in the world. He has contributed hugely to Barcelona as a player, especially remembered for his winning goal vs Sampdoria in 1992.
He has previously managed a multitude of clubs: Ajax, PSV, Benfica, Valencia, AZ, Feyenoord, Southampton, Everton and currently The Netherlands. He hasn't achieved the success he would have dreamt of at any of these, except Ajax, where he won a staggering 3 League titles. His tenure at Southampton too was a partial success as he took them to a record high of 6th position finish
As a personal opinion, his dismal results at Everton, Valencia, and several other clubs count for nothing. This is a problem most post-Cruyffian coaches experience. Most of their managerial tactics fail at other clubs because they do not have the players trained under the Ajax/Barcelona philosophy.
Van Gaal had reasonable success at Bayern only because the club had played a game similar to total Football back in the 1970s.
De Boer won a staggering 4 League titles at Ajax but failed at Crystal Palace and Inter Milan.
Rijkaard failed miserably at Sparta-Rotterdam before he made history at Barcelona with 2 League titles and a UCL. Thereafter, he didn't do well at Galatasaray or Saudi.
Luis Enrique, The most recent coach of Barcelona who won an astonishing 2 leagues and a UCL, faced his struggles at Roma and Celta Vigo.
Guardiola had a successful reign at Bayern because of the earlier influence of Van Gaal, his tenure at Barca needn't even be talked about (One of the best), and his current success at Man City is because of the transfer freedom and because of the natural tactician he is.
What links all the above managers is that they are all Post-Cruyffian managers, who have mainly succeed only at clubs that train the Cruyffian way.
Koeman is another one of this same category, and he has been his quite vocal about his desire to manage FC Barcelona one day. His current massive success with the Dutch National team speaks a lot about what he can do when equipped with the right squad. Most of the team are Ajax products, and he has taken them, a team that didn't qualify for the world cup, to the semifinals of the UEFA Nations League.
He has been a part of the golden generation of Barcelona that consisted of Romario, Pep and had also worked under Cruyff. He is also known for his innate ability to bring the best out of youngsters, and give them confidence.
And with their current golden La Masia generation coming to a near end, FC Barcelona requires another post-Cruyffian manager to restore their glory in the future players. No doubt they do have great players in Alena, De Jong, Puig, Samper, Arthur, Malcom, Dembele, Coutinho, Lenglet, but what the club misses is a manager who can bond the players as a team, and hopefully transform them into a ‘platinum generation’ in the future.
To further simplify matters, Ronald reportedly has a clause in his current contract, that would permit him to leave the current job without any hassle if a chance to manage Barcelona does happen to arrive at his doorstep.
Koeman knows that Barcelona is a club at which he can succeed, and hopefully the board thinks likewise.