Odisha FC is all set to sign a new coach for their third season in the ISL-Indian Super League after a disappointing bottom-of-the-table finish last time out. They’re reportedly targeting a Spanish manager for the new season.

Sources close to the development confirmed that the Bhubaneshwar-based club has already made a shortlist for their head spot and is yet to take a final decision. Football Monk exclusively comes up with the profiles of the four front-runners in the shortlist.

Carles Cuadrat

The 52-year old Spanish manager has a rich pedigree in the context of ISL, managing Bengaluru FC for over two-and-a-half years. He led the Blues to ISL triumph in his very first season as the manager before losing out to ATK the following year. Previously he had worked for Frank Rijkaard as a technical staff at Barcelona U-19 and later for Turkish club Galatasaray.

Cuadrat with ISL side Bengaluru FC
Cuadrat during his time at Bengaluru FC

Juanan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu are the players who have appeared most under his regime at Bengaluru FC. He’ll be reuniting with his old guard Manuel Onwu if he joins Odisha FC as the head coach next season. Cuadrat usually prefers a wide 4-3-3 formation with pacy wingers. Cuadrat holds a UEFA A coaching license to his name. 

Gerard Zaragoza

The 39-year old Spanish manager with UEFA Pro License has previously acted as assistant manager to Carles Cuadrat at Bengaluru FC. He took over the reins of FC Shabab Al-Ahli in 2019 after leaving Bengaluru FC. With the team at 5th position in UAE Gulf League, he had to part ways with the Dubai-based club.

Gerard Zaragoza; Image via AFC

Previously, he managed Georgian top-tier clubs Lokomotiv Tbilisi and Torpedo Kutaisi, earning mid-table positions. His favored formation is a double pivot-based 4-2-3-1 with an attacking midfielder.  Zaragoza is yet to win any silverware as a coach and would look forward to the new adventure if Odisha FC gives him a chance.

Antonio Calderon

The 54-year old Spanish coach started off his coaching career with the U-19 team of Cadiz FC in 2004. He slowly rose up through the ranks till he left the club after it got relegated to Segunda B in 2008. Calderon mostly plied his trade in the Segunda division clubs like Albacete, Tenerife, and Huesca.

Antonio Calderon, Image via EuropaSur

However, his most impressive result as manager came while he was in charge of Fuenlabrada in Copa del Rey 2017. Antoni’s team played out an entertaining 2-2 stalemate at the Santiago Bernabeu against the then European champions Real Madrid. Calderon has also managed Egyptian side Nogoom FC for a short stint in 2018. Currently, he is under contract till June 2021 at Andalusian club Real Balompedica Linense. His preferred formation involves a double-pivot system with pacy wingers in a 4-2-3-1 setup. 

Kiko Ramirez

This Spanish coach has a UEFA Pro coaching license to his name. He started off his managerial career at Catalonian club CF Pobla de Mafumet in 2010. Thereafter he managed a host of Spanish second-tier clubs including Gimnastic, L’Hospitalet, and CD Castellon. A brief period in Polish first division for Wisla Krakow ended in disappointment before he took over Sabadell.

Kiko ramirez; Image via TVP Sports

The 50-year old tactician had to move to Greece to manage Xanthi FC after a few below-par results at Sabadell. However, he was sacked mid-season as Xanthi could never recover from a poor start and ultimately got relegated. His preferred formation involves a central double-pivot in a 4-2-3-1 wide setup. 

Transfer Mantra

Currently, Odisha FC is in the final stages of the recruitment procedure. The Juggernaut think tank is close to penning in a deal with one of the above names. Looking at the current stages Football Monk understands the official announcement is expected to happen any time in the upcoming weeks. Now it’s the time who will answer which Spaniard finally bags a spot at Odisha FC.

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