Ronald Koeman set to remain as Barcelona manager but only after taking a pay cut with Dutchman poised to put pen to paper on new contract
- Ronald Koeman is set to stay as manager of Barcelona after accepting a pay cut
- Koeman could sign a new contract with an extra year added to his existing deal
- Pay cut will be compensated by a spike in his potential earnings from bonuses
- Barcelona president Joan Laporta says ‘things will improve’ with Koeman
Ronald Koeman looks increasingly like being given the job of taking Barcelona into the new season but only after accepting a pay cut.
Diario Sport reported Tuesday that Koeman could put pen to paper on a new contract that would combine an extra year added to his existing deal (due to finish in 2022) and with a reduction in his basic pay – linked to the club’s effort to reduce its crippling wage bill.
The pay cut will be compensated by a spike in what he will earn in bonuses if he delivers trophies next season.
Ronald Koeman is set to remain as Barcelona manager but only after accepting a pay cut
Between Koeman’s future being called into grave doubt at the end of last season and the expected confirmation of him continuing this week, Barça have recruited Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia, Emerson is on his way back from a loan spell at Betis, and Georginio Wijnaldum could also be confirmed as arriving on a free with Memphis Depay following him pending the sale of players.
Three of those signings were requested by Koeman at different points of last season. He has made no secret of his desire to bring in Dutch internationals Depay and Wijnaldum on free transfers. He also asked for Eric Garcia to arrive in the January window.
Barcelona have secured the signings of Sergio Aguero (left) and Eric Garcia (right) this week
There has been less enthusiasm for the arrival of Aguero and right-back Emerson because he favours Sergino Dest and Memphis but the Argentine is being sold to him as a strategic recruitment to appease Lionel Messi who now looks set to stay at the club. And Emerson’s season at Betis under Manuel Pellegrini has left Barcelona believing he will strengthen the right-back position.
Of Koeman’s future, Laporta said Tuesday: ‘Talks have gone well. I think this period of reflection has been good. Things will improve with Koeman. None of us want what happened last season to happen again this season. I feel very comfortable talking with him and I hope he feels the same way. He is more out than in.’
In terms of the squad, judging how effective the ‘ins’ at FC Barcelona have been, is impossible to do while the ‘outs’ remain up for debate.
The club remains under huge pressure to reduce a wage bill with Laporta admitting this week was 110 per cent of projected income.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta was eager to stress that ‘things will improve with Koeman’
If in attack only Martin Braithwaite leaves then Barcelona’s striking options will have improved from last season. Koeman will have Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Francisco Trincao and Aguero all in contention to start up front with Messi.
But if the club sell both Dembele and Griezmann and are only able to bring in Depay it will feel like a net loss in quality.
Likewise in defence Barcelona fans will wait to see who leaves, and who else comes in before they judge the merits of the acquisition of Garcia and Emerson’s arrival. The club want to bring in a left-sided centre-back and have not ruled out going back to Manchester City and asking for Aymeric Laporte. But before they can make any more moves in the transfer market players must be sold.
Barcelona have not ruled out the possibility of attempting to sign defender Aymeric Laporte
Catalan press speculated optimistically this week that Atletico Madrid might move for Jordi Alba, Bayern Munich could try to get Sergio Busquets and PSG wil got for Griezmann.
Those three players are on long contracts and have little appetite for a move. Even players whose playing time will be limited next season such as Braithwaite and Samuel Umtiti having indicated they will dig their heels in and try to stay at the club.
Barcelona are on the brink of confirming Koeman and have raided the free-transfer bargain bin. But it is sales that will dictate how the rest of the summer goes and what sort of squad they take into the new campaign.
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