If you were paying attention to the Bubble, you would have known that the first managerial casualty of the Torneo Inicial was imminent. We predicted here that an exit would be rumoured within the first two fixtures; in the end, Quilmes needed just two defeats to be convinced that Blas Giunta was not the man to save them from relegation.
After spending eight years in his previous employment with Almirante Brown, two games represents a rather less successful run for the unfortunate Giunta. But his firing came as no surprise; here, you get the results or you get moving.
Giunta’s removal, however, has not removed Argentine’s third for more coaching blood. More than one técnico is now looking nervously over his shoulder wondering when the axe will drop. Here are some of the top candidates to join the ex-Quilmes man on the scrapheap.
PROS: Are you kidding? This is Carlos freaking Bianchi we are talking about. The Boca Juniors coach is a living legend for the club, having won them a host of titles and Copa Libertadores in previous lives. Firing the bespectacled master would be like taking the gold out of the Boca shirt, or something.
CONS: On the other hand, the Xeneize are in a chronic rut. A dreadful Summer Tournament run has been followed by a draw on opening day with Newell’s, and Sunday’s capitulation to Belgrano leaving the club languishing at the bottom of the pile. Recent revelations over Bianchi’s mammoth contract, and a subsequent public war of words with directors, have not helped his case.
PROS: Berti is a son of Newell’s Old Boys, the former youth team coach who moved up to the big leagues when Gerardo Martino left for Barcelona. His club play awesome football at times, and if they can rediscover winning habits the coach should be able to turn their fortunes around.
CONS: That needs to happen soon, because right now Newell’s showing form that can only fairly be described as por el culo. Despite possessing stars like Maxi Rodriguez, Gabi Heinze and David Trezeguet, the Rosario lepers are falling to pieces (see what I did there?), failing to win one of their last 11 outings. One more defeat could spell the end for Berti.
PROS: The Arsenal de Sarandi coach is the most successful in the club’s history, having won the Primera Division, Copa Sudamericana, Copa Argentina and Supercopa during two spells in the south of Gran Buenos Aires. He is a pragmatic, steady individual not prone to making rash decisions.
CONS: Argentine football directors are not known either for their memory or compassion. Arsenal have started 2014 with four defeats out of four, a run usually sufficient to end the run of any coach. If the club’s stagnation continues, a parting of ways is unlikely but not impossible.
PROS: Just like Bianchi, the man they call ‘Mostaza’ is an idol at current employers Racing Club. Being the only coach in 48 years to win a national championship with La Academia gives Merlo a certain fame around El Cilindro. He took over the Avellaneda side in dire straits and turned them around in 2013, also thrashing Independiente during the summer and winning the ‘super important’ friendly tournament. With one win and one defeat so far, Racing are far from manning panic stations.
CONS: Merlo is a lifelong bachelor, and has famously carried on that policy of “not marrying anyone” to his professional life. A few more repeats of the tepid display shown against San Lorenzo could persuade the blonde bombshell to seek new pastures.
PROS: The pint-sized ball of anger is not currently contracted to any club, making a firing or resignation that much harder to carry out successfully.
CONS: Lombardi has become the prime candidate to take over at Quilmes, thanks to his reputation for saving relegation-threatened teams. The drawback? He was there in 2012 before jumping ship, and that departure still generates ill-will (read: blind hatred) down south. It is hard to see fans and players welcoming him back with open arms should he take the job, which could mean a short stay for the emotional fellow.