Barcelona ended the 2018/19 season on a disappointing note with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Valencia in the Copa del Rey final, weeks after a 4-0 loss against Liverpool in the second leg of the semi-final clash at Anfield ended their hopes of winning the Champions League.
Even though president Josep Maria Bartomeu had earlier backed Ernesto Valverde to continue next season, the manager’s future at the club remains uncertain.
On the front page of Mundo Deportivo, it’s claimed Ronald Koeman, Roberto Martinez, Massimo Allegri, Erik ten Hag, Unai Emery and Laurent Blanc are all being considered by the La Liga winners.
Koeman is currently managing the Netherlands national team and is considered a ‘very solid alternative’ for the Blaugrana. He has already represented the club during his playing career and is appreciated by the fans.
Should he arrive at the Camp Nou, Frenkie de Jong is likely to get a lot of prominence and the same would be applicable for his compatriot Matthijs de Ligt, if he joins Barcelona.
Juventus parted ways with Allegri and he has not committed to any other team so far. He’s won the domestic competitions in Italy but despite making it to two Champions League finals, he’s yet to win.
Though the likes of Ajax boss Ten Hag, Arsenal’s Emery and Blanc get a mention, Martinez is the ‘best placed’ for the Barca job if Valverde leaves, according to Rac1.
He was born in Catalonia and guided Belgium to third place in the World Cup last summer. Mundo’s report looks at various targets, but another Catalan newspaper Sport has a front page with a further update on the former Wigan Athletic manager.
The Spanish champions will have to hold a meeting with Valverde to take a decision whether or not he will still be in charge next season.
On the other hand, Barca have already contacted Martinez to check his availability, if Valverde is shown the exit door.
Regarding Martinez, Sport states: ‘The option of Robert Martinez is the one that creates more consensus in the board and the reports that there are about him within the club are very positive. The name of the Catalan coach has already been on the table in the past, but never had deepened in its recruitment.
‘Robert Martinez would have already given the OK to a possible operation for the future and is waiting for events because he knows firsthand that this is only an option to be decided. In any case, the current Belgium coach does know that he is the only candidate they value from the Blaugrana offices.’
Unless and until a firm decision is made regarding Valverde’s future, we are unlikely to know if there have been more developments with regards to Martinez, beyond just contacts. His contract with Belgium runs out in 2020.