Fans have been expecting to hear about FC Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman's dismissal for a while now, with musings about his sacking emerging even before the season began. After a disappointing start to the season, the Dutch coach is even more in danger of facing the sack, and Barcelona may have already identified two possible replacements.
Club president Joan Laporta called for unity and support last week, and he has backed off Koeman for now, knowing that changing managers so suddenly can hurt the team even further. However, he also knows that if the results don't start coming soon, he may be forced to make the tough decision.
According to a report by Spanish publication MARCA, Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez is one of the managers being considered for the position. If not, him Roberto Martinez is another possible option.
No official offer has been made to either manager, but Xavi for one, has been linked to the position even before Koeman himself came in last year to replace Quique Setien. In any case, Xavi is currently working in Qatar, and Barcelona may have to shell out a lot of cash if they want to buy out his contract. That's money everyone knows Barcelona does not currently have.
Meanwhile, Martinez is also currently employed by the Belgian National Team. Like Koeman before him, he will also likely want a clause in his contract that will guarantee payment for the number of years he still has in his current deal with Belgium. He also has upcoming matches for the UEFA Nations Cup to think about, which will give him a reason not to leave his current post.
On top of all that, Barcelona will be owing Koeman up to 14 million euros if he is summarily dismissed before the end of the season.
It won't be easy sacking Koeman, and Laporta knows the consequences that will come with it. Likewise, acquiring the services of a new manager seems even more difficult. Xavi may be more plausible, owing to the fact that he is loyal to the club and comfortable at the Camp Nou.
The fact is, not many will be keen to take the reigns now that the club is deep in crisis. It's a volatile post, and someone who has a strong history with the badge may be the best option.