Barcelona are a club in turmoil.
After season upon season of reckless transfer spending, things finally caught up with Blaugrana this summer as they found themselves in a financial rut that ultimately led to them losing Lionel Messi.
In fact, the Catalans were essentially only able to register Memphis Depay and Eric García because club captain Gerard Pique agreed to take a substantial pay-cut in order to meet La Liga’s demands.
Barcelona’s financial woes
It really has made for a farcical situation and one that has seen Barcelona flail around in their attempts to sell players who are widely considered to be on the fringes of Ronald Koeman’s squad.
Emerson Royal has already given an emotional interview about the manner in which Barcelona sold him this summer and Samuel Umtiti has been routinely booed by fans for his own predicament.
And one of the biggest narratives regarding Barcelona’s financial woes this summer surrounded Miralem Pjanic, who has proven to be a bizarre signing since his 2020 switch with Arthur Melo.
RANKING THE BEST & WORST TRANSFERS (Football Terrace)
Pjanic’s difficult season
Despite proving himself as a top-class operator at AS Roma and Juventus, Koeman only used the Bosnian – who was handed a hefty contract – sparingly during his first season in Spain.
All in all, it led to a tricky situation that has only just been resolved with Pjanic agreeing a season-long loan to Besiktas amidst reports that his Barcelona wages had been reduced down to 60%.
And now, like Emerson, Pjanic has decided to make his feelings about the situation at Barcelona public, giving an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca in which he is highly critical of Koeman.
Pjanic slams Koeman in remarkable interview
“My situation was complicated from the beginning,” Pjanic candidly explained. “I got there after two weeks away, started to train little by little, alone, to prepare myself to start with my teammates.
“Three, four, seven, 10 days went by and the coach never came to talk about the season, about me, to speak about anything. It was strange, but fine.
“Time passed, I was feeling good and playing, but of course I wanted more. Then there’s a point when I was playing less and things were complicated.
“It was tough physically and mentally and it killed my confidence because I had no communication with him. It was very strange.
“The coach is the one who says who plays and who doesn’t, but there are ways of doing things. I’m a player who can take anything, but I’d like to be told to my face and not as if I’m a 15-year-old.
“I fought until the end, I was always professional with the lads, always working hard, for them too. I knew that if the coach stayed I’d have to find a solution.”
“He never told me or asked if I wanted to play as a two or in front of the defence,” Pjanic continued. “I reached a Champions League final playing as a double pivot with [Sami] Khedira.
“I’ve played everywhere, but he never saw me in any of them. I didn’t have a position, I got five or 10 minutes, or would warm up for 45 minutes but not play.
“I’ve never had a situation like it and it wasn’t easy. You have to be tough, because sometimes I could have reacted badly to him, but I was always respectful with him and my teammates.
“He had a cross against me from the beginning. It was hard to accept. I waited until the end for things to change. I played all of the Champions League games and we won 2-0 in Turin.
“Then LaLiga Santander comes along and I’m out. I was going to ask him if I was doing something wrong. Maybe he wanted something different than [Massimiliano] Allegri, [Maurizio] Sarri, Luis Enrique or [Luciano] Spalletti. They all have different things, but they communicate.
“It’s good for the team. ‘No, no, it’s only rotation, I have no problem, your attitude is good…’. Okay, fine, but then I was out for longer. I didn’t understand. He’s a very, very strange coach. It’s the first time I’ve seen someone like this.”
“From February until May I hardly played,” Pjanic added. “I was very disappointed. I could have said ‘I’ve a three-year contract so I don’t care’, but I’m not like that.
“It was a very difficult situation to accept, but I wasn’t going to fight. There was a person who was never going to change. He’s the coach.
“There was a lack of respect for the club, for those who didn’t play after training well. The coach was never there to see the attitude of the players who didn’t play. It’s the first time I’ve seen that.
“How can a player be motivated to show he’s there when the coach isn’t there to see the attitude or how he trains? It was one of the worst things I’ve seen, a huge lack of respect and it wasn’t easy for those of us not playing.”
A pasting for Koeman
Wowsers. So, there’s a lot to unpack there, but the moral of the story is that Pjanic feels miffed that Koeman wasn’t communicative about why he was barely being played for no discernible reason.
Now, obviously, there are always two sides to one story, but it’s certainly a damning portrait of the Dutchman’s management style having been previously criticised by Oumar Niasse at Everton.
Regardless of how you look at it, though, there can be no denying that all is not well at Barca and only time will tell how they traverse what is undoubtedly one of the toughest periods in their history.