Juan Antonio Anquela, the frontrunner for the Malaga job

Anquela leads training for Real Oviedo.
Anquela leads training for Real Oviedo. / Eloy Alonso
  • The current Real Oviedo coach's contract is up at the end of the season

Though the season is all but over, Malaga are sticking to their guns and will only announce a new head coach come the conclusion of the campaign.

The man set to take the job is understood to be Real Oviedo manager Juan Antonio Anquela. The 60-year-old's contract expires at the end of the season and fits the profile outlined by sporting director Mario Husillos. He knows Segunda well, is tactically flexible and has a good reputation in the footballing world.

Anquela's Oviedo are currently just one place (and three points) outside the play-off spots with five games still to play so Malaga are holding off their approach to avoid unsettling the manager of a team with plenty still to play for.

It is believed that the veteran coach has an offer on the table for a new deal at Oviedo but that the Malaga job would be too big to turn down.

Player recruitment

Husillos is confident of getting his man and preparations in terms of recruitment are well under way. He, together with the club's scouts, have shortlisted around 50 players who would fit within the wage structure and whose skill set matches the demands of the division.

However, unlike in January when Husillos had complete control over the signings (barring Isaac Success who was José González's pick), the sporting director will present the new man with the shortlist and allow him to choose who he feels best fits his plans and even invite suggestions for others who may have slipped the net.

With the club's spending power expected to be greater than any of their rivals next year thanks to inflated parachute payments (Malaga had been in the top flight for the past ten years and their television receipts were consistently in the top ten in the division), it will be a big summer at La Rosaleda with lots of players coming in and, more significantly, going out.

Finding suitors

Husillos spent the best part of last week in various locations in South and Central America trying to find buyers (or a least teams interested in loan deals) for Emanuel Cecchini and Esteban Rolón.

The former was signed by former sporting director Francesc Arnau, while the latter was a signing made by the sheikh himself. However, neither has proven to be up to standard and moving them on will be key for planning next year.

Likewise, Malaga must wait on Sporting Gijón's situation, with two of their players (Jony and Michael Santos) on loan there and forming a key part of the squad. If Sporting gain promotion, it is likely they will want to keep hold of them, possibly on permanent deals, with finances no longer being an obstacle.