In what will come as a bizarre twist, Barcelona are prepared to axe boss Quique Setien at the end of the season unless the club experiences a dramatic change in fortune, according to reports.
The 61-year-old was hired in January after the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde, but has struggled to retain control of a dressing room packed with superstar names. The board are also said to have been left unimpressed by recent performances.
And Goal believe that Setien will lose his job this summer should Barcelona fail to retain their LaLiga crown or even win the Champions League over the coming months.
Setien had been handed a two-and-a-half-year contract earlier this year, but had not topped the list of candidates Barcelona had drawn up in their chase for Valverde’s successor.
The former Real Betis coach appears to have now lost the confidence of his playing squad – with stars at the club wielding a notable amount of influence.
It is even thought that players have now turned against Setien and have been left confused by his tactics. His recent comments in the media also irked key figures.
The same publication believes that it is Setien’s methods on the training ground that have partially deepened the split between the coaching staff and the players at the Nou Camp.
The veteran tactician is said to be ‘too hands-on’ during sessions, and his assistant, Eder Sarabia, is also deeply unpopular.
This was perhaps proven in shocking footage that emerged from Barcelona’s 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo on Saturday, which showed Lionel Messi openly ignoring instructions from Sarabia.
A heated dressing room bust-up reportedly followed after the game, and Real Madrid now lead the race for the LaLiga title by two points with just six games remaining.
It is suggested that the Barcelona hierarchy have also lost faith in their appointment. A string of ineffective displays from the team, combined with mixed results, may lead to them pulling the trigger just months into Setien’s reign.
But the Spaniard may be able to cling onto his job with Barcelona still in the running for both domestic and European success. The Catalan outfit drew against Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Napoli before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Club legend Xavi recently admitted that he is now preparing to take over the Barcelona hotseat in the future, and Goal also indicate that his boyhood team may attempt to recruit him again this summer after failing to do so in January.
B team boss Xavi Garcia Pimienta has been touted as another potential replacement for Setien.