Since the arrival of José Luis Caminero as Malaga sporting director, names immediately linked to the vacant head coach's job were Fran Escribá and Rubén Baraja, primarily as they share an agent, Manuel García Quilón.
When asked about these links on Monday, however, Caminero said: “Baraja and Escribá are good coaches but we have to take a step back and think who would be the best fit for our project.”
Escribá has since dismissed taking “a step down” into Segunda and has stated that he is only interested in offers from La Liga or abroad. Baraja, meanwhile, is understood to enjoy the complete confidence of the board at Sporting Gijón and is already planning for next season.
According to SUR sources, new front-runners have now appeared. One coach admired by Caminero is Jagoba Arrasate. The Basque, in charge of Numancia, this year led his side's charge to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey (after eliminating Malaga) before steering his side to the Segunda playoffs.
Another believed to be in the running is Pep Lluis Martí who turned Tenerife from a relegation-threatened team to one that finished in the playoffs in his second season.
Both these names fit the profile Caminero has in mind: “The coach has to be someone who knows the division well... the teams, the stadiums, how to handle the demands of the long campaign. Segunda is nothing at all like La Liga.”