Barcelona president Joan Laporta said a “cycle has ended” at the club and warned big decisions will be made as a “renewal process” begins in the coming weeks.
It is “incomprehensible” that Ronald Koeman’s side has thrown away the league title in recent weeks, according to Laporta, who was elected president for a second term in March.
Barca had their fate in their own hands five games ago, but have won just once since then and will end the season outside the top two for the first time since 2007-08.
Laporta said at an event organized by Diario Sport on Tuesday that the team would be assessed at the end of the season based on its performances and results.
“We won the Copa del Rey, which we are proud of, but we were knocked out of the Champions League early and have lost La Liga incomprehensibly from my point of view.
“A new cycle has begun and we will be implementing a renewal process next week. We must work hard to build a competitive team that can win league titles and Champions Leagues.
“WHEN I SPEAK OF A CYCLE COMING TO AN END OR ABOUT RENOVATION WORK, IT’S BECAUSE IT’S WHAT I BELIEVE MUST BE DONE.”
The comments by Laporta raise further doubts about Koeman’s future, following reports that the Dutch coach has already been considering alternatives.
Koeman, 58, took over last summer under difficult circumstances and managed to stabilize the ship after the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League.
Despite winning the Copa del Rey and getting Barca back in the title race, Koeman’s side has regressed in recent weeks, leaving Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to fight for the title this weekend.
Barça travel to Eibar on Saturday for their final match of the season with nothing to play for.
Laporta’s threats are likely to extend beyond the coach, though, with sources telling ESPN Barca are keen to move on several underperforming players this summer.
There are a number of obvious candidates to leave Barcelona, including Neto, Junior Firpo, Samuel Umtiti, and Philippe Coutinho. However, some of the more established, long-serving players could also be on the losing end as Barcelona looks to reduce their wage bill.
Barca can count on a credit line of up to €500 million from an American bank to tackle the changes needed, with Laporta calling for €100m to pay backdated wages.
With gross debt standing at nearly €1.2 billion, to renew the playing staff sources say Barca will also need to sell several players and cut salaries.
Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay, and Sergio Aguero are all expected to join Barca this summer when their respective contracts expire, but a source said Laporta would also like to raise the funds to make a statement signing.
Laporta also insists Lionel Messi will stay at Camp Nou even though his contract expires in June. The Barcelona player hasn’t yet decided on his future, but Laporta is “convinced” he will remain with Barca.