Transfer Rumors and News

Joan Laporta and Hansi Flick are on the same page at Barcelona…for now at least

The more that comes to light around the sacking of Xavi, the more we confirm what we already knew.

Joan Laporta is all about that sense of control.

Xavi was never really his man to begin with. But over time, he gained the president’s trust. The Barca legend got off to races as manager, both with results on the field, and in projecting a confident vision for the future.

FC Barcelona Manager Xavi Confirms Decision To Stay

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Laporta was clearly impressed, and opened up the pocket book. When money couldn’t be found, he made it appear with creative accounting.

If Laporta likes and trusts you, he’ll make things happen for you. Ferran Torres, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, and Jules Kounde were expensive signings at a time when the club was under serious financial pressure. Laporta and his right hand man Mateu Alemany loathed Ousmane Dembele, and were desperate to let him walk for free, but out of respect for Xavi, they allowed the manager to keep his favorite player.

FC Barcelona v FC Internazionale: Group C - UEFA Champions League

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Even when the whole media establishment is against you, as it was for Xavi at the beginning of the year, Laporta stood by his side, and had his back consistently. And believe me, that man would know how to stoke the fires in the background if he wanted to.

Even when Xavi pledged to walk away, Laporta wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Xavi had earned his place in the circle of trust. And Laporta, perhaps above all else, seems to want people around him with whom he can collaborate closely.

And then, the relationship came crashing down.

The management of Vitor Roque probably didn’t help Xavi in the eyes of the higher ups who bent over backwards to sign him at a premium.

FC Barcelona Training Session

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Losing to Girona, and risking a second place finish, certainly gave everyone second thoughts about Xavi’s ability to lead the team going forward.

But ultimately, it was those comments to the journalists. Xavi being just a little too honest about his opinion of the constraints he was coaching under, that did him in.

To some extent, you can understand why Laporta wouldn’t appreciate the color commentary.

He had done way more than was probably financially prudent to support the manager over the years.

He had done way more than he had to to defend the manager when everyone else seemed to agree it was the right time to go.

Sevilla FC v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports

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But in fact, and we can all see now clearly, it was because of an unspoken agreement behind the scenes.

We understand each other right?

Well one thing that maybe Laporta didn’t understand was the immense pressure coaches are under. And the things they will say when they are tired and frustrated. And yes, perhaps Xavi was naïve to always speak so openly to the media, not realizing the trouble he was creating for himself by being so honest.

So that’s how it works. You’re friends until you’re not. You say the wrong thing. Have a disagreement about the direction of the team. You could be toast.

Xavi, for a long time, did a good job threading the needle.

Hansi Flick said all the right things over the past few months. That’s how he landed the job.

Barcelona v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final

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He’s still saying all the right things now. Although it should be noted he’s yet to speak with anyone outside of the internal club media. It’s a sensitive time, and it looks like he’s being shielded.

Yesterday, Laporta gave an interview outlining which players he thinks will go, and which will stay. Now, you may ask yourself, what kind of president of a football club is giving interviews like this? What’s the point? Is this even your job?

When you’re working with Laporta, this is how it works.

He is the sun.

In listening to the interview, he isn’t saying anything earth shattering. But the gist is that the current crop of players are more than enough.

The Joaos could very well come back.

Robert Lewandowski has a big role to play.

Jules Kounde had an outstanding season.

La Masia is the way forward.

Spain Training Session

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Maybe, if Flick is lucky, they’ll find a way to bring in Joshua Kimmich, but don’t count on it.

And Flick has to be ok with that. And for all intents and purposes, from what we’ve heard through the grapevine, Flick has given the impression that he is.

That’s a tenuous way to begin the proceedings.

Maybe, as was the case with Xavi, if Flick is simpatico with Laporta, the president will find a way to get the manager what he asks for, within reason.

But disagreements are bound to arise, and a manager of such a big club needs to feel he has the freedom, autonomy, and agility, to lead as he sees fit.

Laporta is taking a big gamble with Flick. He needs this to work out more than anyone.

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The best thing the president could do now for himself is read the room, look in the mirror, and see the importance of taking the back seat.

That means giving the football people the space to do the football to the very best of their abilities without outside interference.

That means quieting the whispers in the media above all else.

The relationship between the manager and the president will always depend on good communication and collaboration.

But there is also a division of responsibility.

You hired a very good and capable manager.

Time to let him do his job.

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