Former Shimizu S-Pulse manager Kenta Hasegawa is believed to be close to becoming Gamba’s next manager.

Masanobu Matsunami is likely to return to his previous role as a coach with the club preferring to turn to more experienced hands and Hasegawa seems to be their first choice for the job. The former Japan international led S-Pulse to two top four finishes during his six year spell at the helm but left after defeat in the Emperor’s Cup final in January 2011. He has been working as a TV pundit since then but could be offered a path back into management and handed the task of getting Gamba straight back into J1.

All eyes are definitely on the higher-ups at the club as their last decision of this nature saw the shambolic hiring of the nightmare-team of Jose Carlos Serrao and Wagner Lopes – a decision that greatly contributed to the club’s demotion. Club president Kikuo Kanamori is expected to fall on his sword once Gamba’s participation in the Emperor’s Cup is over to appease the fans so his replacement will want to make sure they get the right man for the job this time round.