What Ronald Koeman must prioritise at Barcelona – Lionel Messi transfer saga top of list

Ronald Koeman has been appointed Barcelona boss on a two-year deal at the Nou Camp.

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has it all to do as the Catalan giants’ new manager next season. The Dutchman signed a two-year deal on Wednesday morning to secure himself one of the most-coveted positions in club football. Express Sport are on hand to take a look at what the former Barca man has to do to get Lionel Messi and co. back to the top of the sport.

Keep Lionel Messi

It’s been reported in Spain over the past few days that Lionel Messi has had enough and he wants out this summer.

The Argentine’s contract is up next year but Messi is said to be so fed up that he’s looking for something new immediately. Those reports were of course squashed by club president Josep Bartomeu, but it’s obvious Messi isn’t happy with how things are being run at the moment.

His body language was clear for all to see during Barcelona’s 8-2 capitulation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last week. And the world’s best player deserves better, not just on the pitch, but at board and management level.

What Ronald Koeman must prioritise at Barcelona - Lionel Messi transfer saga top of list

What Ronald Koeman needs to prioritise as Barcelona boss – including Messi transfer saga (Image: GETTY)

Koeman has history with Barca, having scored the winner in the Champions League final in 1992 against Sampdoria in a team managed by Johan Cruyff.

If there’s one thing Koeman could do, it’s to remind Messi of the history and grandeur of playing for Barcelona.

And despite his sacking from Everton in 2017, Koeman needs to convince Messi that he’s the man to lead Barcelona back to where they need to be – winning Champions League trophies.

Use the academy

Arguably the greatest side in the history of club football was the Barcelona team which dominated the sport from 2009 to 2011.

That side, managed by Koeman’s former team-mate Pep Guardiola, was littered with stars from Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, and there are likely more hidden gems amongst Barca’s current B-team.

Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Pero and Messi all won multiple Champions Leagues and La Liga titles together, having come through the Barcelona youth ranks previously.

It’s now up to Koeman to find the next crop of stars, just like Guardiola and compatriot Frank Rijkaard did before him.

Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig have already shown flashes of brilliance and there’s more to come from the youth ranks.

What Ronald Koeman must prioritise at Barcelona - Lionel Messi transfer saga top of list

What Ronald Koeman needs to prioritise as Barcelona boss – including Messi transfer saga (Image: GETTY)

Sort out the defence

Whether Koeman finds someone from the academy, or he dips into Barca’s pockets in the transfer window, he needs new talent at the back for Barcelona.

They’ve been shambolic at times over the past couple of years and their current defenders just aren’t cutting it.

Nelson Semedo, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umitit don’t seem to be up to the standard required at Barca, while Pique’s age is beginning to show in central defence.

And their 8-2 loss to Bayern summed it all up perfectly. Koeman will be hopping he has some backing in the transfer market, or he could be in for a disastrous season.

What Ronald Koeman must prioritise at Barcelona - Lionel Messi transfer saga top of list

What Ronald Koeman needs to prioritise as Barcelona boss – including Messi transfer saga (Image: GETTY)

Back to tiki-taka

The style synonymous with Barcelona and Spanish football in general, Koeman needs to get his side playing the way fans have become so accustomed to seeing them play over the last 15 years.

Having played in Barca’s Total Football side under Cruyff and with the relationship he has with Tiki-Taka master Guardiola, Koeman shouldn’t find it too hard to inject that style back into a club so used to playing attractive football.

But he needs to get rid of the dead weight, be astute in the transfer market and ensure he uses La Masia to find Barca’s next star.

Then, and only then, will Koeman put Barcelona back at the top of the footballing tree.

What Ronald Koeman must prioritise at Barcelona - Lionel Messi transfer saga top of list

What Ronald Koeman needs to prioritise as Barcelona boss – including Messi transfer saga (Image: GETTY)

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