FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta spoke to the media on Thursday to confirm the club's position in relation to head coach Ronald Koeman. The Dutch coach has another year left to run on his deal and refuses to walk away without cashing in and the Catalan club are in no position to afford outgoings of this nature. Word on the street has it that Laporta tried to get Koeman to reduce his wages by offering another further year to his deal should the club perform on the pitch but the coach knocked that proposal into touch. Laporta tried to paint a rosy picture of the situation yesterday as he faced the media but it's quite clear that Koeman has made his position quite clear.
The by-product of Laporta's speech is a slight loss of face for the Dutchman, something that won't be lost on members of the Barcelona squad. They are aware that he is set to remain as head coach due to the cash problem at the club and with the club announcing a return for Jordi Cruyff, there is an automatic emergency stop-gap solution in the shape of the 47-year-old. Things have been tricky for Koeman who arrived at a FC Barcelona in turmoil with Messi looking to leave and Bartomeu with one foot out the door. Given these circumstances, Koeman has done an admirable job securing one title despite failing to challenge for the Champions League and running out of steam in the LaLiga race.
Laporta also centered on the possibility of a Messi renewal deal with optimism linking the possibility with the signing of Kun Agüero. In better days, Barça would never have made such a signing in bringing in a veteran, 33-year-old striker. The player did come in as a free agent and is still a fine forward and if his acquisition can be a factor in Messi staying, then the signing may be a shrewd bit of business for the Catalan outfit. So much of Barcelona's summer will depend on the man from Rosario staying or not. Should he decide to stay, the sun will shine on the Camp Nou over the summer months and will be key in shaping the immediate short-term atmosphere at the club for Laporta.