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Why Barcelona need to convince Xavi to continue at the club beyond next season

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has expressed a strong desire for Xavi to stay beyond the current season. 

This statement comes in light of Xavi’s earlier announcement, in late January, that he would step down as Barcelona’s manager at the season’s end. Initially, this news didn’t cause much concern for the club. However, the situation has evolved since then.

The current landscape presents limited top-tier options in the managerial market. Even if alternatives exist, they have often come with significant costs and potential drawbacks. 

An aerial view of the issues at hand

Since Xavi’s announcement, Barcelona have been on an extensive hunt to find a replacement, but nearly two months have passed and the team from Catalonia has failed to secure a successor.

After a thorough exploration of all possibilities, Barcelona realised that bringing in a new coach is not feasible for several reasons.

Xavi has managed to retain the harmony of the dressing room. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Firstly, there’s the financial aspect; hiring a manager currently under contract would entail paying their buyout clause.

Secondly, even if they do manage to find a replacement, it would be a risky move as the current squad has been tailored to fit Xavi’s strategies. Additionally, with the team operating on a tight budget, the new manager would have limited resources for significant transfers.

Most importantly, the major challenge lies in whether the new manager will utilize young talents like Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsi, and Hector Fort as effectively as Xavi did.

Specifying the actual problem

Over the past couple of months, Barcelona have been meticulously evaluating potential candidates to succeed Xavi.

Among the names in consideration were two Germans, namely Hansi Flick and Thomas Tuchel, and two Premier League managers Roberto De Zerbi, and even Mikel Arteta. Yet, securing any of these options poses significant challenges for the Blaugrana.

Take De Zerbi, for instance. The current manager of Brighton and Hove Albion is tied to a contract until 2026, with a hefty release clause of €15 million. Barcelona simply cannot afford such a fee, especially for a manager with limited experience at the highest level.

It is a risky proposition, to say the very least.

Then there’s Flick, the German coach who enjoyed humongous success at Bayern Munich but struggled during his tenure as the national team coach. 

While initially favoured by Barcelona’s hierarchy, a closer examination of his management style raised doubts. 

Barcelona were seeking a manager with diverse experience, but Flick’s track record is solely within Germany. Additionally, his reliance on established stars rather than nurturing young talent contradicts Barcelona’s philosophy.

Hansi Flick might not agree with the Barcelona board on some aspects. (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

This philosophy is non-negotiable for the Catalans, particularly after President Laporta emphasized building the team around emerging talents like Yamal, Cubarsi, and Fort.

Hiring Flick could potentially stifle the development of promising La Masia prospects like Marc Guiu, who are eager for opportunities.

Barcelona NEED to stick with Xavi

Since Xavi took charge, Laporta and sporting director Deco have collaborated closely with him. While disagreements over transfers, such as Joao Felix’s, may have arisen, overall team harmony persists. 

The current squad reflects Xavi’s vision, and introducing a new manager could disrupt this cohesion. Xavi’s adeptness at nurturing La Masia’s talent is invaluable to Barcelona’s future success and with a shared understanding of the club’s direction, his continuity is essential.

Barcelona do not only want Xavi, they need him.

Now, the Blaugrana have endured a challenging season, plagued by injuries. In fact, not even once this season did the manager have the full squad at his disposal.

Despite this, Xavi has faced unwarranted criticism. While accountability is part of management, given the circumstances, Barcelona’s dependency on Xavi is evident.

In conclusion, Barcelona’s pursuit of a new manager is filled with obstacles. Financial constraints, philosophical misalignments, and the imperative of continuity under Xavi’s leadership present formidable challenges. 

However, in these uncertain times, it is safe to say that Barcelona need Xavi more than Xavi needs Barcelona.

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