Champions, top of the league – but are Barcelona in crisis?

Valverde (centre) took over from Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp in 2017Reigning champions, top of the league, Champions League group winners, captained by the Ballon d’Or winner… but still in crisis?That might not sound like a very normal situation, but Barcelona are not a normal club. At the Nou Camp, style is demanded as…

110484446 valverde epa - league, crisis, champions, barcelona

Valverde (centre) took over from Luis Enrique on the Nou Camp in 2017

Reigning champions, most sensible of the league, Champions League crew winners, captained by way of the Ballon d’Or winner… however nonetheless in disaster?

That would possibly now not sound like an excessively customary scenario, however Barcelona don’t seem to be a standard membership.

On the Nou Camp, taste is demanded up to substance and a sequence of unconvincing shows has left supervisor Ernesto Valverde preventing for his activity, regardless of steerage his crew to the highest of L. a. Liga.

The sophisticated scenario was once additional difficult on Sunday with the surprise information that striker Luis Suarez has been dominated out for 4 months, probably forcing a determined plunge into the switch marketplace.

Xavi wooed, Valverde to hand over?

Even if they received L. a. Liga by way of a mile, closing season ended horribly for Barca with the notorious Champions League go out at Liverpool and a Copa del Rey last loss towards Valencia.

Valverde by some means clung directly to his activity nevertheless it was once transparent he had little ultimate credit score, and the brand new marketing campaign has observed his crew ship convincing collective shows handiest hardly, regardless of the person ability of Suarez and Lionel Messi securing enough wins to most sensible the desk along Actual Madrid.

Barca’s away shape has been in particular deficient, with losses at Athletic Bilbao, Granada and Levante plus attracts at Osasuna, Actual Sociedad and Espanyol.

The most important worry is that each one the ones video games adopted a an identical trend, with Valverde not able to mend the issues that continuously go away his crew having a look disjointed in ownership and prone on the again, edging ever farther from the membership’s trademark incisive passing recreation.

After a deficient efficiency within the pre-Christmas Clasico – a disappointing goalless domestic draw which Actual in large part ruled – Barca’s newest setback got here on Thursday within the reformatted Tremendous Cup semi-final towards Atletico Madrid, after they conceded two overdue objectives to fall to a 3-2 defeat.

Within the wake of that loss, membership president Josep Maria Bartomeu seems to have made up our minds sufficient is sufficient.

Xavi, who has simply began his managerial profession with Al-Sadd after spending the former 4 years enjoying for the Qatari membership, has showed media reviews that he spoke to Barca’s wearing director Eric Abidal and leader government Oscar Grau over the weekend.

On Saturday, Valverde’s dismissal and Xavi’s quick appointment have been broadly regarded as within the Spanish media to be a formality.

However a twist got here on Sunday as Xavi reportedly back-tracked, deciding to reject the membership’s be offering and stick with Al-Sadd – for now, a minimum of.

Every other complication – and it is inevitable that behind-the-scenes scheming is concerned at one of these deeply political membership – is that Xavi has been a long-time best friend of businessman Victor Font, who’s making plans to run towards the present board in subsequent yr’s presidential elections.

Moderately than rejecting Barca, it is most likely extra in particular correct to mention that Xavi has rejected Bartomeu, who prefer to bide his time till Font, if his presidential bid succeeds, steps into place of work. And he isn’t the one one: every other iconic former skipper, Carles Puyol, grew to become down the wearing director function in September after additionally lending his toughen to Font previously.

Valverde, understandably sufficient, is regarded as bearing in mind quitting anyway after being angered by way of his membership’s semi-public pursuit of Xavi, and if he did keep it is demanding to peer how he can retain his authority after his remedy previously few days.

So Valverde would possibly nonetheless be going, but when Xavi is not coming who may just exchange him? In opposition to one of these turbulent backdrop and within the wisdom of being second-choice, most likely it is not unexpected that Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman has additionally reportedly grew to become down the activity. And the temptation for some other doable goal has been additional lowered by way of a major harm blow.

Suarez shall be out for 4 months following a knee operation

Suarez absence sparks switch hunt

Suarez has been in magnificent shape, scoring or helping every of his crew’s previous 10 league objectives and proceeding to experience a telepathic reference to Messi.

However the Uruguayan may just now omit the remainder of the season after having a knee operation on Sunday, with the analysis of a four-month absence a long way worse than the preliminary expectation that he can be out for only one.

Changing Suarez at centre ahead may well be accomplished by way of repositioning Antoine Griezmann, who has been enjoying in a left-wing berth since his big-money summer season transfer from Atletico Madrid however would indisputably be thrilled to obtain the risk to play in a extra central function.

That may clearly go away an opening at the left wing, which may well be crammed by way of an unconvincing mixture of these days (and incessantly) injured Ousmane Dembele, home-grown Carles Perez (who’s extra at ease at the proper) and massively green teenager starlet Ansu Fati.

However Barca may just additionally really feel forced to convey ahead their acquisition of a brand new centre ahead to switch Suarez, which it was once anticipated would happen on the finish of the season, with Inter Milan’s all-action Argentine Lautaro Martinez a number one candidate.

Cash, even though, is a huge downside. Barca’s funds is already stretched and they’d nearly for sure must promote a number of gamers to satisfy Martinez’s 111 million euro unencumber clause at Inter.

That would get started with Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal, who’s reportedly suing Barca in a dispute over unpaid bonuses and has already attracted Inter’s pastime.

Inexpensive choices may well be former Barca trainee Dani Olmo, who has shone for Dinamo Zagreb this season, and Osasuna striker Chimy Avila, whose hard-running taste and penchant for impressive objectives has received admirers throughout Spain.

However bearing in mind the cleaning soap opera nature of lifestyles at Barca, most likely we should not be shocked to peer a renewed bid for a celebrity who was once unsuccessfully courted closing summer season.

Get able for the ‘Neymar again to Barca’ headlines as soon as once more.

The query, even though, is that this: who can be managing him?