With the pain of defeat to Grêmio in the Copa Libertadores final still raw, Jorge Almirón and Lanús have confirmed that Monday’s Superliga fixture against Vélez Sarsfield will be the Primera winning coach’s last game in charge.
The vacancy at La Liga club Las Palmas is likely to have helped Almirón make his decision but having won one league title and taken Lanús all the way to the final of South America’s biggest tournament, there was a feeling that the 46-year-old may have come to the end of his cycle regardless.
“I have taken the decision to leave and I am very saddened by the defeat by Grêmio in the Copa Libertadores,” said Almirón.
“We didn’t manage to do it but I am grateful to the players that I have and we gave our all in order to be champions of America.”
Duele que un ciclo así, tan ganador e histórico, llegué a su fin. Pero su legado será imborrable.
¡Este lunes contra Vélez despidamos todos al DT más ganador de nuestra historia!
Almirón’s stock could barely be higher after such a memorable campaign and so the opportunity to test himself in Europe is too good to turn down. Given Lanús’ ageing side, there appears little more that the former Independiente and Tijuana manager could do and delaying such a decision could see the chance pass.
Struggling La Liga side Las Palmas sacked coach Pako Ayestaran last week just two months after his arrival following a run of six defeats and one draw.
If Almirón is appointed, the task ahead is a difficult one as the Canary Islanders sit second from bottom in La Liga with the worst defensive record in the Spanish top flight.
After an underwhelming start to his managerial career, Almirón failed to stamp his mark on Godoy Cruz and Independiente, chopping and changing his line-ups without identifying a clear system of play. However, over the past two years with Lanús, a highly effective and dynamic 4-3-3 has produced remarkable results.
Iván Marcone, shielding the back four as the side’s number five, has been absolutely central to that success and so it is little surprise to already see the 27-year-old also linked with a move to Las Palmas.
An outstanding ball winner and effective passer, Marcone so often provided the first pass in Lanús’ attacks and his calmness under pressure allowed the side to play out from the back. Having joined the club from his boyhood side Arsenal at the start of 2016, Marcone has established himself as one of the best central midfielders in Argentina and earned himself a call-up to the Albiceleste squad last year.
Marcone has credited Almirón with helping him develop in this role and while there are valid question marks of whether they can reproduce their Lanús form in Europe, it could prove to be an astute piece of business for Las Palmas.