Quique Setién's initial challenges at Barcelona
Purchasing a striker to replace Suárez or deciding if Chilean midfielder Vidal should leave the club are just two of the questions Setién needs to answer.
With his appointment as FC Barcelona, Quique Setién unquestionably faces the biggest challenge of his managerial career to date. He takes over a Barça side who lift atop the LaLiga table with club looking to make it three-in-a-row and are also through to the next stage of the Champions League where they face an erratic Napoli side in the Round of 16. Setién's task is made that more difficult as he arrives with the club in a comfortable position despite recent indifferent performances. The Santander born coach´s first task is to win over the dressing room and ensure he secures the support of the heavyweight players with a convincing message, strategy and defined style of play.
Barça signed Setién for two main reasons, primarily to offer a fresh approach to playing the game as was seen in his previous clubs: Lugo, Las Palmas and Real Betis. A style of play based on possession and quick intricate passing which will inspire the supporters as opposed to the more turgid approach which many Culés felt Valverde epitomised. The change of coach is also hoped to lay the club's recent ghosts to rest with any heavy defeat in Europe raising memories of losses in Paris, Rome and more recently, Anfield with many feeling that the Jeddah Super Cup loss to Atleti was the final straw for the Barça board who were already running out of patience with the Basque coach.
Setién's first task is to sit down with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting directors Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes and analyse the current squad with the long term absence of Luis Suarez and doubts surrounding the future of Chilean midfield Arturo Vidal two posers that need to be addressed. French defender Jean-Clair Todibo's situation is another area where Setién will need to act quickly with half a month of the January transfer remaining to move players.
Setién will be presented officially on Tuesday afternoon and his initial challenge is to offer a fresh and positive air at the Catalan club which has taken a dent in it's self esteem in recent weeks. The prospect is an attractive one for the 61-year-old but at the same time given Barça's strong position domestically and in Europe offers little margin for error.