Barcelona have confirmed the dismissal of Quique Setien as the club’s head coach after a lengthy board meeting on Monday, with Holland manager Ronald Koeman set to replace him.
The Catalan side ended the 2019/20 season in miserable fashion despite Setien having taken over from Ernesto Valverde in January with the side in top spot in La Liga.
But they had to settle for second place, with Real Madrid finishing five points clear of their Clasico rivals, and there were immediately calls for ‘change’ from Barca’s star players after losing their crown.
But Setien remained in charge, presiding over Barcelona’s worst defeat in almost 80 years as they were humiliated 8-2 against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final of the Champions League.
In the immediate aftermath, Gerard Pique again called for ‘changes’ – and not just in the playing staff – while Lionel Messi has reportedly threatened to leave if significant attempts aren’t made to improve the club both on and off the pitch.
Barcelona’s board, led by president Josep Maria Bartomeu – who himself is under huge pressure – met for almost five hours at the Camp Nou offices on Monday before decided their next step.
They confirmed Setien would be removed from his role with immediate effect, though an official announcement on Koeman’s arrival will have to wait as they look to extract him from his contract with the Netherlands.
A statement read: ‘This is the first decision within a wider restructuring of the first team which will be agreed between the current technical secretary and the new coach, who will be announced in the coming days.’
Barca also brought forward the date of the presidential election, with Bartomeu’s position at the club appearing increasingly perilous after a series of misfiring big-money signings and declining performances on the pitch.
The club’s board hope the move to fast-track the elections to March 2021 will placate Messi, who has grown increasingly frustrated with Barca’s board and was particularly put out by the way the squad were portrayed when they were asked to take pay cuts.
Once Koeman has been installed, Barca will press ahead with plans to overhaul the playing staff with almost the entirety of the squad up for sale bar just four senior players: Messi, Frankie de Jong, Clement Lenglet and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.