Oscar Garcia odds slashed to 11/2 in next Barcelona manager market
Ronald Koeman may have managed to end Barcelona’s highly publicised three game winless run after he oversaw a 3-0 victory over Levante on Sunday, yet the Dutchman's future remains shrouded in doubt.
A difficult start to the season has seen Koeman come under immense pressure, with reports speculating that Barcelona could be waiting for October’s international break before they officially decide to orchestrate a change in the dugout.
Roberto Martinez, Xavi, Antonio Conte, and Brendan Rodgers have all been linked to the Nou Camp in the past couple of weeks, with the latter even cut from 50/1 to 8/1 (Bet Victor).
Other high-profile names that feature in the betting market include Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, Juventus’ Max Allegri, and Leeds’ Marcelo Bielsa.
However, one manager who has suddenly caught the eye is Oscar Garcia, the former Brighton and Watford boss who has been in charge of French side Reims since June.
Paddy Power have catapulted the former Barcelona player and coach into the upper echelons of the market at just 11/2, which makes him the third favourite behind Martinez and Xavi, should Koeman depart. However, you can still back the 48-year-old at the much bigger price of 40/1 with William Hill.
The movement in the market comes after RMC Sport reported that Garcia has surprisingly been one of the managers mentioned in recent meetings within the Barcelona hierarchy.
Garcia began his footballing journey at Barcelona’s famed La Masia, before going on to play under the likes of Johan Cruyff, Bobby Robson, and Louis van Gaal for the first team; where he won four La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup with the first team; scoring 28 goals in 97 games.
Garcia had coaching posts at both the Catalonia national team and Barcelona, where he took charge of the club’s U19s and won the La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions Cup treble.
“If they [Barcelona] ask me if I wanted to [manage them], the answer is evident,” Garcia said in 2013. “It wouldn’t be for the money or the prestige or anything else: Being considered to coach the club of your life is priceless.”
Fast-forward eight years and he would obviously jump at the chance to return to the Nou Camp, despite currently being employed.
But while Garcia has Barcelona running through his veins, is a Cruyff disciple, and has enjoyed success coaching at the club, it’s fair to say that his managerial career has been incredibly stop-start.
In nine years he’s crammed in nine senior-level jobs across six countries - he’s managed fewer than 50 games in seven of those posts - including spells in England at Brighton and Watford.
After winning the Israeli title with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Garcia ventured over to the south coast of England in 2013 and took the Seagulls into the Championship play-offs in his only season in charge.
He returned to Maccabi for all of seven games, then took charge of Watford but health problems meant he had to step down two weeks after his appointment.
Garcia would go on to win back-to-back league and cup doubles in Austria at Red Bull Salzburg, had 13-game spells at both Saint-Étienne and Olympiakos, spent a year in Spain at Celta Vigo, then was appointed Reims manager in June.