There will always be the question of whether Joan Laporta had something similar to a plan or if he has launched into a total improvisation with the security that his positive character gives him. His actions this week have nothing to do with his words from a fortnight ago, but the truth is that little by little Barça 2021-2022 is taking shape. On Monday he presented forward Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero, on Tuesday it was the turn of center-back Eric García, the two free from Manchester City, and on Wednesday he announced the right-back Emerson, for whom he will pay nine million to Betis as set in the co-ownership contract signed in its day. And while waiting for the midfielder Wijnaldum and the attacker Memphis Depay, also free at Liverpool and Lyon, respectively, this Thursday Jordi Cruyff arrived as the club’s liaison with the coaching staff, definitely led by Ronald Koeman, also an official.
The day began with the return of the last name Cruyff to the Camp Nou 25 years later. In 1996, Jordi, a 47-year-old former striker, played his last season in the Barça first team, the same season in which his father, the mythical Johan Cruyff, stopped being a coach. Joan Laporta has always boasted of his ‘cruyffismo’, advised in the shadows by the Dutchman in his previous stage in the presidency. With Johan deceased, the bet for his son was sung, especially when he made him see during the electoral campaign that he considered going with Víctor Font because he was going to win. His advice to Laporta will be official. A soccer man, he has curious experiences as a sports director in Cyprus (AEK Larnaca) and Israel (Maccabi Tel Aviv) and as a coach in Maccabi himself, in Chongqing Lifan in China, in the Ecuador team (very brief) and in the Chinese Shenzhen, which has allowed him to break his contract to join Barça on August 1.
He will not be a sports director, which is why Mateu Alemany arrived, nor a technical secretary, as Ramon Planes follows. He will be the guardian of style, the one in charge, among other things, that Ronald Koeman does not deviate too much from 4-3-3 and from the philosophy of touch and offensive football. “I am proud to return 25 years later, I am very excited and motivated,” proclaimed Jordi Cruyff.
And in the afternoon the suspense around Koeman ended. If a few days ago Laporta admitted that they had given “15 days of reflection” because they were “looking for a coach”, while the coach confessed his discomfort with the deal, an agreement was finally reached. It is intuited that the Dutchman did not forgive the 13 million that corresponded to him, between some clauses and others, and that the complicated current economy of the club advised continuity. It is interpreted that Leo Messi, before a renewal that is already taken for granted, warned that better with Koeman than, for example, with Xavi, who wants to start from scratch without old teammates. Koeman will therefore continue with the year he had signed until 2022 and, if he meets the objectives, he could extend until 2023.
With so many incorporations, and after the criticism that Koeman made at the level of the squad, the mystery is the exits (Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, Pjanic, Coutinho, Braithwaite, Junior …), because it is already known that when it is charged very by above what is normal in the market, nobody wants to move.