Stuck in a deep sports crisis since the deconfinement and more generally in an internal slump for several months, FC Barcelona has definitively let slip the Liga. Arrived on the bench in January 2020, Quique Setién has still not managed to find the right formula to win the Blaugrana and continues to face distrust from a large part of its workforce. To the point that many partners claim the arrival of Xavi, to come and give a smile to a very sullen Camp Nou. But is it really the right time?
For the faithful of Barça, the news seemed like a heavy blow. A fortnight ago, after a successful first season on the bench of Al-Sadd, Xavi extended his contract by one year with the Qatari club until 2021. An announcement that seemed to mark the end of the hopes of Catalan supporters to see their captain during the 2014-2015 season return home in the near future, with the technician’s costume this time.
Finally, the smile and the hope quickly returned to the faces of Barcelona aficionados. The reason ? The revelation of a clause in the new contract of the former midfielder of the Roja (133 selections), allowing him to terminate his lease if FC Barcelona wanted to make him his new coach.
The current Xavire boat
From then on, everyone began to dream of the return of the child prodigy at home. It is, whatever happens, obvious: the little guy of 1.70 meters will one day take control of the workforce blaugrana. Has the moment (already) arrived? Some seem to think so, at a time when Barça has rarely (if not never said) made such porridge of football symbolized by a pitiful defeat – the first since deconfinement – on his lawn against Osasuna (1-2) eleven versus ten. Supposed to replace an Ernesto Valverde already uninspired for two and a half years, Quique Setién has still not managed to put in place a game for which he had just been engaged last January. Worse, FC Barcelona is moving further and further away from what has been its essence from the late 1980s until now. Given the current lack of intensity, creativity and collective Catalan initiative, it is clear that the tiki-taka and ultra-offensive football advocated by Pep Guardiola between 2008 and 2012 seem far away. A time when Xavi was the hub of the Barcelona collective. To see him land on the bench, with similar and assertive ideas, would at least mark the end of a football joke that has lasted too long.
The sustainability of Setién at the head of Barça seems, in any case, impossible in the medium term. The interested party himself wondered about his future at a press conference, after the meeting against Osasuna: “I feel that I have the skills and the energy, I am convinced that we will be a different team. I can control this. Beyond that, I cannot … “ In question, in particular, a clear lack of influence on his group led by Lionel Messi. A collective that dissociates itself more and more from its coach, as evidenced by the reactions of the players during its talks during the now famous “cool breaks”, the ridiculous attitude of Sergio Busquets on the last goal against Osasuna or even the strong public outing of the Barcelona captain. In addition to the qualities of play he would impose, Xavi seems to have the means to re-weld a crumbled group. His closeness to Messi and the respect that the flea dedicates to his elder could also allow the Argentinian to believe again in the project blaugrana, him whose question of a departure has never arisen as much as today.
À picture is worth a thousand words…Just look at Setien with his players compared to Simeone. The contrast is staggering. pic.twitter.com/aseX2fWPl5
— EiF (@EiFSoccer) June 30, 2020
A year of tensions, in anticipation
A huge quack remains, however. If Xavi had recognized in March wanting “Return to Barça”, the former midfielder had set a condition sine qua non to a potential return in the columns of The vanguard : “I made it clear to them that I wanted to start a project from scratch, start all over again. “ However, this Barça is anything but new. Without taking anything away from the quality and past of the current players, the Catalan workforce is terribly aging. Facing Seville at the end of the confinement (0-0), Quique Setién has simply aligned the eleven oldest in the history of the club (30.7 years on average). In fact, Xavi would need a facelift to come and exploit the full potential of his group. Here again, there is a problem: in an obvious lack of substantial financial means, FC Barcelona will be very limited in its recruitment this summer. It’s not for nothing that the Catalans offer (and sometimes succeed, with the Arthur-Pjanić case) by all means of player exchanges to whom good would be open to barter. To build a decent workforce, Xavi might have to wait a while longer. History that the accounts return to the green.
History, also, that internal political conflicts have subsided. Because in a year, the club’s steering committee will elect the future president of the FCB for the next six years. The declarations of war between the different candidates – Joan Laporta at the head – have already fused, and they will continue to multiply until the final deadline. To work in peace and serenity, and precisely start a project ” from scratch “, the old pocket medium would do well to wait another twelve months (at least) to put on his new tunic. At the risk of burning the stages, and totally screwing up a long-awaited return.
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