Managers have been dropping like flies this week, with Atlético Madrid's Carlos Bianchi the latest to go after his side lost their first leg cup match against Zaragoza. His replacement, for the time being at least, will be B team manager Pepe Murcia. Alavés coach Chuchi Cos was also moved upstairs to make room for his assistant Juan Carlos Oliva, although many commentators regard this as a cosmetic move to take the pressure off president Dmitri Piterman, who will probably continue to sit in the dug out and direct operations on match days. Meanwhile in the second division, Real Murcia and Málaga B both changed their coaches this week, the former yet to name a permanent replacement and the latter appointing ex Barcelona forward Lobo Carrasco as the new boss.
Meanwhile on the transfer front, the biggest news of the week was about Real Madrid's possible signings for the summer. Ashley Cole is tipped to replace Roberto Carlos, and Riquelme is apparently being mooted as the man to take over from Zidane. On the other hand an unhappy Gravesen could move on before the end of the month, with Manchester United one of several premier league sides who are watching him. Another option which has been mentioned as well could be a swap for Newcastle's Luque. Elsewhere Espanyol have completed the signing of Birmingham's Pandiani, Getafe have signed Coelho (a youngster described as the new Rivaldo), Alavés are taking Georgiev on loan and Real Sociedad have agreed terms with Broendy's Skoubo. (13.01.06)