Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova’s unfortunate recurrence of cancer and departure from Barcelona is an untimely episode in the life of a man who was at the peak of the professional coaching ranks. Though it will be one among millions, my sympathies go to him and his family.
Almost as soon as the announcement was expected to be made, though, speculation immediately ran rampant about who would be a replacement for the departing manager. Tottenham fans immediately began a collective groan.
Metro and the Evening Standard both pointed to bookies like Betfair as installing Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas as the next manager for La Blaugrana. Other contenders mentioned include the currently free Roberto Mancini, Barca assistant Jordi Roura and Swansea boss Michael Laudrup.
AVB himself has tried to talk down the speculation about being linked with the job in an interview with Sky Sports. Until the announcement is made, though, there will be at least a few more stories between now and then about AVB being the man to lead Barca for the future.
Those words and paragraphs should not bother Spurs fans, though, because AVB is not the man Barca are going to hire.
Now, why make a proclamation like that?
The club has been able to keep the Portuguese head coach out of the clutches of both PSG and Monaco this summer. It is not likely that Barca are going to be able to do any better with Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy than the French sides were.
A more compelling reason, though, comes from BBC Sport's Andy West.
West explains that it is far more likely the Nou Camp brain trust would look for someone to carry on the tiki-taka style of play that La Blaugrana currently employ. That means, in short, someone would have to come in with a managerial style that already matches what the club performs.
This would certainly seem to strike AVB out, as the Tottenham boss does not prefer the short-passing game the Spaniards preform. AVB’s style is much more direct, something Tottenham might get a view of this term.
It is an important point to make, especially considering AVB also has a bit of a stigma attached to him that few might take the time to consider: He is a man from the Jose Mourinho coaching tree.
While AVB has not poked anyone in the eye recently, the level of vitriol lingering in the Nou Camp toward the other Portuguese manager would rub off on anyone with that kind of association. It would be an unfair point to bring up, but one that surely will have been noted at some point.
While probably not as important, AVB also has not been a boss or an assistant in La Liga before. While that is probably not a disqualifier, it is yet another reason why it would be hard for Barca to put him in the pressure cooker of one of the world’s foremost football clubs.
Regardless, it will likely be a moot point soon enough as Barcelona decide who will be guiding the ship of one of the world’s best football clubs soon.
AVB, meanwhile, will be trying to find the balance necessary to secure a Champions League place for Spurs.
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