After surprisingly relieving Garry Monk of his duties last week, a managerless Swansea City found themselves on the receiving end of a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City last Saturday.
Now above the Premier League’s relegation zone on goal difference alone (and a single goal at that) the Swans board are well aware that time is of the essence and hope to appoint a new manager by next weekend – when the club will face eighth-placed West Ham on Sunday.
In fact, Huw Jenkins has already got the interviewing process underway according to reports from yesterday afternoon, but who might he be holding talks with, I hear you ask? Football Fancast’s microscopic surveillance equipment is unfortunately on the fritz, so we can’t eavesdrop into Jenkins’ office as previously intended.
But the tabloids are becoming increasingly unanimous on their speculation of who is and who isn’t in the running. With that in mind, here are the FIVE managers reportedly in the frame to take over at the Liberty Stadium.
Over the last 24 hours, Marcelo Bielsa has emerged as the bookies’ favourite to take the hot seat at the Liberty Stadium.
The 60-year-old is a rumour column regular in regards to Premier League vacancies and comes with a strong track record, having overseen the Argentina and Chile national teams for extended periods alongside short-term stints with Athletic Bilbao and Monaco.
Pep Guardiola even dubbed him ‘the best manager in the world‘ back in 2012 and his high-pressing philosophy has inspired the likes of Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino and former Barca boss Tata Martino.
That should suit Swansea City’s historic style of play but if there’s one concern, it’s Bielsa’s unfamiliarity with Premier League football.
Gus Poyet remains amongst the front runners for the Swansea gig and in comparison to Marcelo Bielsa certainly knows a thing or two about the English game, having made 187 Premier League appearances for Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur before managing Brighton in the Championship and Sunderland in the top flight.
Brighton were renowned for their aesthetic football under the Uruguayan and that will certainly sit well with the Swansea fan base, whilst his protruding passion often wins over players and supporters alike.
But Poyet has never hidden the fact he’s a careerist – evident enough through him reportedly being ‘interested‘ in the Swansea job despite taking over at AEK Athens just two months ago – and Swansea tend to prefer longer-term appointments.
Likewise, although the 47-year-old is a popular figure and highly-regarded by many, his track record isn’t exactly outstanding. He failed to secure promotion with Brighton and despite steering Sunderland clear of relegation in 2014, lasted just 18 months at the Stadium of Light with only 23 wins from 75 games to his name.
Permanent management would be breaking new ground for Ryan Giggs, having only served as interim manager and Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Manchester United since hanging up his boots towards the end of the 2013/14 season.
But many clearly have high hopes for the retired 13-time Premier League winner; he’s been approached for the Wales jobs on several occasions and is already being groomed by Ed Woodward to take the Red Devils hot seat from Louis van Gaal at the end of next season.
That suggest the former winger already has plans in place superior to the Swansea vacancy. But he may feel the need to distance himself from van Gaal’s regime and carve his own path in management to prove he has the credentials to rule over Old Trafford one day.
Swansea would certainly be the right job for Giggs in that regard as a particularly stable club with a core of experienced players. But signing a manager without any real experience seems like a bigger risk than simply keeping Garry Monk on from Swansea’s perspective.
Swansea City are reportedly monitoring Jorge Sampaoli’s situation as Chile manager, following later denied rumours that he’d resigned from the post last week.
It’s not hard to see why; the 55-year-old led La Roja to the first knock-out round at the 2014 World Cup, where they unfortunately met tournament hosts Brazil, and to Copa America glory during the summer – claiming the only international accolade in the country’s history.
The Argentine’s high-pressing philosophy and utilisation of a back three has gained many admirers for the exciting football it often produces. This year, he’s on FIFA’s shortlist for the World Coach of the Year award, alongside Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique.
But Sampaoli has never stepped out of South America as a manager or a player and it remains to be seen if his ideals can be transitioned so easily to the European game.
Spaniard Unai Emery is amongst the most wanted managers in world football at the minute, having lead Sevilla to consecutive Europa League titles despite losing the integral influence of Ivan Rakitic, Federico Fazio and Alberto Moreno in summer 2014.
Sevilla play stylish but compact and organised football and their win percentage with Emery at the helm is an impressive 54% – including Champions League victories over Borussia Monchengladbach and Juventus this season.
Now out of the European tournament, the 44-year-old may be more open to the idea of moving to the Premier League and leaving Sevilla behind, seemingly reaching his limits at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
But the former midfielder will be in no rush to quit Sevilla and can realistically expect bigger opportunities to come along. No doubt, however, he’d be an incredible swoop for Swansea.