Villarreal has become the first La Liga team this season to initiate the search for a new manager by relieving Quique Setien of his duties just four games into the new campaign.
The decision to sack Setien stemmed from disagreements with senior players in the dressing room, even though President Fernando Roig had supported him at the end of the previous season.
Setien’s position had been precarious several times last season, with Girona Manager Michel Sanchez and Bournemouth Coach Andoni Iraola both linked to the position. However, with Iraola having recently taken charge at Bournemouth and Michel unable to manage twice in La Liga during a single season, Villarreal is now exploring new options.
As they search for a new coach, Director of Football Miguel Angel Tena will temporarily assume the role. One potential candidate is former Sevilla, Wolves, Spain, and Real Madrid Manager Julen Lopetegui, who abruptly left Wolves just nine days before the start of the Premier League season.
Javi Gracia, a former Watford and Valencia boss who is currently without a job, is another name in consideration. Additionally, Marcelo Gallardo, the former River Plate icon, is available and seeking his first job since departing Argentina.
Gallardo has the most impressive track record among the three, achieving remarkable success with River Plate over eight years in both league and cup competitions.
Lopetegui, on the other hand, has demonstrated his potential in Europe by guiding Sevilla to three consecutive fourth-place finishes and a Europa League triumph. Gracia, while highly experienced, may not have a CV that matches up to the other two candidates.