Barcelona could turn to a familiar face if manager Ernesto Valverde needs to be replaced.
Former Barca star Ronald Koeman, who is currently managing the Netherlands national team, is one of the few candidates with a resume worthy of being considered to coach the Catalan club, according to Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal.
“(Koeman) meets the criteria, but I have not spoken with anyone (about the job) because I have a lot of respect for Ernesto,” Abidal said in an interview with Mundo Deportivo, as translated by Sam Marsden of ESPN FC.
Although Koeman intends to stay in charge of the Dutch national team until next summer’s European Championship, he has a clause in his contract that would allow him to move to Barcelona if the Spanish side is willing to pay a fee.
“The list of potential coaches for this club is very short,” Abidal added. “The information about the Koeman clause is generally well-known now. But it’s not his decision, it’s the club’s.”
As a player, Koeman was a prominent member of former manager Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team” at Barcelona, helping the club win four consecutive La Liga titles and its first-ever European Cup.
He began his coaching career with Dutch side Vitesse before enjoying success at Ajax. After spells at Benfica, PSV, and Valencia, and then a return to the Eredivisie, Koeman coached in the Premier League for three years during stints at Southampton and Everton.
The 56-year-old took charge of the Netherlands in 2018 and helped his home nation qualify for the 2020 European Championship earlier this year. It’s the country’s first berth in a major tournament since the 2014 World Cup.