FC Barcelona top 5 most expensive signings
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Barcelona president Joan Laporta may be regretting his decision to appoint the relatively inexperienced Xavi, despite initial apprehension. The Catalan side, still led by interim boss Sergi Barjuan, shockingly blew a 3-0 lead at Celta Vigo on Saturday afternoon, reinforcing their need for stability going forward.
After a turbulent summer was followed by a rollercoaster start to the season, Ronald Koeman was finally given his marching orders last week.
Once that decision was made, Xavi seemed to be the only serious candidate in the running as a return to the club where he shone as a player seemed inevitable.
His appointment was officially announced by Barca on Saturday after the cash-strapped La Liga side forked out his £4.2million release clause from Al-Sadd.
The 41-year-old could have been forgiven for feeling optimistic when his new side went into half time 3-0 up against Celta Vigo on Saturday.
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However, two second-half goals from former Liverpool striker Iago Aspas, including a 96th minute equaliser, brought Barca to their knees.
The afternoon was made even worse when Ansu Fati hobbled off with injury, mere weeks after returning from an extended layoff.
Yet another chaotic showing is perhaps a sign that Laporta should have heeded his hunch when it came to appointing, or rather not appointing Barca’s former midfield maestro.
According to MundoDeportivo, the President felt as though the club’s turbulent situation called for a more experienced coach.
Furthermore, if he failed to meet expectations with Barca’s sub-par squad, he may spurn his only chance to build a long and fruitful career in management at the Camp Nou.
The likes of Roberto Martinez and Antonio Conte had been mentioned in relation to the job over the past few months, both of which have considerably more experience under their belts.
However, Laporta opted to take the leap of faith with Xavi, and the former Spanish international will have realised the size of the task at hand in light of Barca’s capitulation against Celta Vigo.
Although he is largely unproven in Europe’s big leagues, his stint at Al-Sadd was rich with success as they stormed to the title unbeaten last time out.
They also started this term unbeaten, meaning he has not lost a league encounter since the 2019/20 season.
That streak is unlikely to remain intact at the Camp Nou, although an improvement on Koeman’s performances and tactics are a must.
If it does not work out, however, Laporta may rue his initial hunch to plump for a coach with the necessary experience to handle Barcelona’s turbulence behind the scenes.
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