FC Barcelona's new manager is a 'gamble' who may not last 6 months, according to the country's most prominent soccer journalist
Getty/Alex Caparros/Simon Stacpoole
- Soccer journalist Guillem Balague says FC Barcelona's appointment of Quique Setien is a "gamble," and that he could lose his job at the end of the season if he doesn't win La Liga.
- Former Real Betis boss Setien was named as Barca's new head coach on Monday following the sacking of Ernesto Valverde.
- "It's a gamble, because he hasn't got experience of [Barcelona's] changing room," Balague told Business Insider. "[Not winning La Liga] will obviously be a big problem."
- Balague also believes Barcelona's 2021 presidential election could signal the end of Setien's spell at the Camp Nou, regardless of this term's exploits.
- "The new president can actually say 'no sorry, we don't want you', and then pay him off a bit and that's it."
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Appointing Quique Setien as manager was a "gamble" for FC Barcelona, and he could lose his job at the end of the season if he doesn't win La Liga, according to Spain's foremost football authority, Guillem Balague.
Barca appointed Setien as its new head coach on Monday following the sacking of Ernesto Valverde.
The 61-year-old arrived at Camp Nou after having left fellow La Liga club Real Betis in May, with whom he enjoyed a successful two year spell - guiding it to its highest league finish in over a decade in 2017/18, as well as the Copa del Rey semis a year later.
Balague, who spoke to Business Insider at the launch of LaLigaTV, said Setien's exploits at Betis were ultimately what saw him land the job, but that his appointment is still a big risk for the Spanish champions.
"It's a gamble, because [Setien] hasn't got experience of [Barcelona's] changing room, not because of what he did at Betis," said Balague. "He actually got the job because of what he did at Betis."
Asked what happens if he doesn't win La Liga this term, he added: "It will obviously be a big problem. There is no transition at Barcelona, so he also knows that he may not there next season."
Barcelona is currently in poll position in the Spanish top flight, leading the table on goal difference ahead of rival Real Madrid.
However, even if Setien is able to secure the La Liga title for his new club, he could face another hurdle in securing his long-term future shortly after.
The club will hold its next presidential elections in 2021, at which point current chair Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has been president since 2015, will be replaced.
The only candidate to announce their intention to run for the position thus far is Victor Font i Mante - a Catalan businessman who founded technology investment firm Delta Partners Group.
Balague believes even if Setien makes it into next season as manager, he could hit a roadblock come election time.
"There are going to be elections in 2021," he said. "Which means that [Setien] knows the new president can actually say 'no sorry, we don't want you,' and then pay him off a bit and that's it.
"There is no time to transition, it's time to go for it straight away."
Setien will take charge of Barcelona for the first time on Sunday January 19, when his side take on Granada at the Camp Nou.
The game is available to watch on LaLigaTV, which is free for Sky customers until January 28.