Barcelona president Joan Laporta is believed to have told manager Ronald Koeman that the Dutchman must change the way he sets his team up if he wants to avoid being sacked.
After weeks of flirting with other candidates, Laporta has finally committed to Koeman – who has even agreed to a pay cut just to ensure he gets to stay at Camp Nou for at least one more year.
Laporta urged Koeman to agree to a more bonus-based salary, but according to Cadena SER, one of the president’s biggest demands was actually a major change to how the Dutchman sets his side up.
Koeman has been warned that he must do away with his 3-4-2-1 formation in favour of a return to the 4-3-3 setup which worked wonders for Barcelona in Laporta’s first reign, with the president demanding more attacking football.
Laporta has used the example set by the Barcelona Women team, who roared to an emphatic Champions League victory by playing some devastating attacking football, to show Koeman what the men’s team should be doing.
It seems as Koeman has agreed to Laporta’s demands as he is close to confirming his stay at Camp Nou, and Catalunya Radio believe he may even have signed a new contract which includes the option for him to stay for the 2022/23 season as well.
It’s an interesting one. Koeman used the 4-3-3 nine times in La Liga last season, winning eight and drawing one, but that same setup also saw the team fall to Athletic Club in the Super Cup final and left them needing a miracle to survive in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League.
That miracle came in the form of the 3-4-2-1, which helped drag Barcelona back into the title race before contributing to their late collapse.
It seems as though Laporta was not impressed and will force Koeman to revert to the 4-3-3, and as history has shown us, managers love being told how to manage their team. It’s hard to think of one boss who hasn’t enjoyed having their hands tied… apart from literally all of them.
On top of that pressure, Koeman must also find a way to maximise his new signings. Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia have both sealed moves to Camp Nou, while Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.