Julio Grondona made the somewhat surprising announcement earlier that Arsenal boss, Gustavo Alfaro has left the club after what has been a dreadful run of form in the Primera División. Three wins in the league this season is perhaps justified grounds for sacking but it has been abundantly clear that Arsenal have prioritized their Copa Libertadores commitments, and qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time in the club’s history should be seen as a sign of progression. Regardless, the axe has been swung and the name that has now moved rapidly to the fore is Boca legend, and former Godoy Cruz Coach, Martin Palermo. Grondona has been quoted as saying the deal of Palermo is “almost closed and the idea is to assume the position on Friday.”
Gustavo Alfaro will feel a little hard done-by and point to injuries and the strain put on his small squad when playing Copa Libertadores and an even more packed Torneo Final but perhaps even with those excuses the domestic form has been inexcusable.
In this case maybe the bigger shock is why Martin Palermo is so high on the list of Grondona’s replacements.
In recent weeks, Palermo had been linked with replacing Mostaza Merlo at Racing but with the Avellaneda club enjoying an upturn in fortune in recent weeks, it appears Grondona has moved fast to ensure Arsenal get their first choice replacement for Alfaro.
For Palermo, it would be an excellent step up as financial restrictions made the Godoy Cruz job a difficult one and since his departure the Mendoza club have not seen much of an improvement. From battling relegation to the latter stages of the Copa Libertadores and managing the most successful Argentine side in recent years, Palermo can be very happy with the trajectory of this coaching career.
With the backing of Grondona, Arsenal have some financial clout and important political contacts and certainly the challenge for honours in Argentina will make Palermo a more prominent figure, particularly when the “dream” job may come available back in La Bombonera.