Next Barcelona Manager: Could Erik ten Hag follow in the footsteps of Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff and Louis van Gaal?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 28 May 2019, 15:50

Rumours are rife that Barcelona are set to dispense of Ernesto Valverde after two seasons at the helm, despite the accumulation of back-to-back La Liga titles under his tutorship.

The most recent league triumph was achieved by a nine-point margin, rivals Real Madrid - who had three different managers last season - were a sizeable 19 points off the pace.

However, Barcelona’s Champions League capitulation coupled with Saturday’s failure to retain the Copa del Rey has led to feverish speculation that the Catalan club are set to orchestrate a change in the dugout.

The surprise favourite for the seemingly imminent vacancy is the ex-Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, shock winner of the 2013 FA Cup.

This success, in terms of silverware, was the Spaniard’s most recent management. He then spent three years at Everton, and has been in charge of Belgium, who finished third at the 2018 World Cup, since 2016.

Another former Everton boss in Ronald Koeman is next in the next Barcelona manager market, followed by former Real Betis head coach Quique Setien, and Max Allegri, who has now left his post at Juventus.

But, one name that shines brightly in the betting is the 20/1 priced Erik ten Hag, a manager that appears tailor-made for Barcelona, as was the case with Johan Cruyff all those years ago.

Ten Hag is fresh off the back of a stunning first full-season in charge of Ajax, during which he lifted the league and cup double. A last-gasp Spurs goal in the semi-finals ended the club’s treble hopes but their pulsating Champions League performances won the hearts of numerous admirers.

Ajax were simply a joy to watch, employing a dazzling brand of mesmerising football, drenched in panache, intensity, and fluidity of movement.

Barcelona have, of course, previously poached managers from Ajax’s grasp, famously Rinus Michel, the aforementioned Cruyff, and Louis van Gaal.

Ten Hag could be next to follow in the footsteps of that legendary trio.

Unfortunately for Ajax they’ve already lost Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona, while skipper Matthijs de Ligt appears to be heading in the same direction.

The appointment of Ten Hag would no doubt cement the signing of the latter, and if so, one or two more players could follow suit.

Watch. This. Space.

 

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