Monchi's decision to reject Arsenal for a return to Sevilla earlier this week came as something of a hammer blow to the London club. However, reports have now named former Barcelona sporting directors Robert Fernandez and Andoni Zubizarreta as the new favourites to fill the vacancy.
The Gunners have been looking for a new technical director to work with Unai Emery since the start of the season, and efforts only intensified after the departure of head of recruitment Sven Mislintat earlier this year.
Monchi, having worked so efficiently with Emery at Sevilla, was thought to be the primary candidate, and many assumed it was just a matter of time after he left his post with AS Roma following the sacking of Eusebio Di Francesco.
Many of an Arsenal persuasion were stunned earlier this week, then, when the 50-year-old was re-appointed by Sevilla, leaving the Gunners to look to other targets, and The Independent now report that the vacancy is likely to be handed to one of the former Barcelona duo.
The links stem from Arsenal director of football Raul Sanllehi's connections with both men. He worked with Fernandez to some success at Barca between 2015 and his departure in the summer, after appointing him to replace Zubizarreta, who left to join Marseille.
The former has taken some time out of football to work in punditry since bringing the likes of Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele to the Catalan club, while Zubizaretta has himself conducted some shrewd business since arriving at the Ligue 1 side, playing a key role in Florian Thauvin's development into a world-class talent.
There are thought to be other names in the frame, including former player Edu, who works with Brazil, but for now it seems to be a straight toss-up between the Spanish contingent