Despite Barcelona currently topping the La Liga table and having progressed to the Round of 16 in the Champions League, there was a feeling that the Spaniard could not take the club any further.
Defeats to Roma and Liverpool in consecutive years in the Champions League followed by a Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia and Supercopa de Espana semifinal exit to Atletico Madrid were considered red flags by the club higher ups.
On paper, Valverde's numbers at Barca aren't bad. 16 losses from 145 games is quite impressive.— Barcelona Podcast ️ (@theculetalk) January 15, 2020
It's the calibre of games, the opposition to which we lost, the manner in which those defeats came and the type of football we played that led to the loss that makes is disgusting! pic.twitter.com/75yHV1BIRm
Xavi was lined up, rather publicly, to replace Valverde but there was a feeling with the former player that the club's approach was more ceremonial and political in nature. He was reportedly reluctant to take over in its current state of instability and with the presidential elections approaching in 2021.
As for Valverde, the coach reportedly knew that his time at the club was coming to an end before the two parties officially parted ways. The players' physical preparation before games and his tactics and substitutions were also called into question according to Balague.