One of the first tasks that Ronald Koeman will have to get his teeth into as manager of Barcelona will be to shape the squad for the future.
After the debacle of an 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final, there was always going to be significant change, and the first of those saw Quique Setien and Eric Abidal sent packing.
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The next few weeks are hugely important for Koeman and the club, and depending how right or wrong the Dutchman judges the mood of the dressing room, that will surely author how successful he will be in the role as a result.
Koeman already spoke at his press conference, cited on Barcelona’s official website, saying: “From today we will get to work and if decisions have to be made, we will make them.
“[…] I think it is the moment to give opportunities to the young players who deserve it. We are not afraid, if they can prove they are up for it.”
By inference of giving the younger players more opportunities, certain senior stars will be culled, though one of them won’t be Luis Suarez if the player has anything to do with it.
The Uruguayan has no intention of leaving before the end of his contract, which will be at the end of the forthcoming campaign, according to Mundo Deportivo.
“From the club there is a lot of talk […] Luis is still waiting and no one contacted him.” said a source very close to the Uruguayan, cited by Mundo Deportivo. “No, Luis is not going to go to Ajax in any way … the idea is to go off quietly next year.”
Given how close Suarez is with club captain and Barca talisman, Lionel Messi, both on and off the pitch, this situation looks likely to be one of Koeman’s biggest initial challenges.