During the NFL season, there is one day in particular which stands out for its off-field drama more than any other.
That day comes on the Monday immediately following the last Sunday of the regular season, ahead of the playoffs.
It is a day that is due to forever be known as Black Monday, as head coaches face up to their fates usually after a year of underachievement.
English football doesn’t have its own version, despite manager sackings becoming increasingly regular across the country, patience becoming an increasingly-rare virtue in the modern era.
It is unlikely that the Premier League will see similar, until such a time as a managerial transfer window is integrated.
But following the final day of the top-flight season on Sunday, there are a number of clubs and managers waiting, probably impatiently, to see precisely what’s next.
Here’s a look at those clubs, the men in the firing line and those potentially in line to step in…
After 22 years, Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal is over.
Now the Gunners hierarchy must make its most important decision since his arrival in 1996. CEO Ivan Gazidis has no experience in this area and will lean heavily on recent recruits Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi.
Mikel Arteta, the former club captain, has emerged as the man most likely.
The Spaniard has spent two years working as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, and is spoken of in glowing terms by the Catalan, who insists he won’t stand in the way of a man who has grown at the Etihad into one of his most trusted advisers.
With Arsenal increasingly looking to switch from a system where Wenger was all-powerful to one where a young head coach focuses on the first team, it also won’t have gone unnoticed how Raheem Sterling has improved this term, with Arteta working intensively with the England forward.
With Max Allegri staying at Juventus and Luis Enrique seemingly pricing himself out of a move to the Emirates, it appears the job may well be Arteta’s to lose.
Regardless of whether they win the FA Cup or not, this looks set to be Antonio Conte’s last season at Chelsea.
Having led the Blues to the Premier League title in his first year, the Italian’s second campaign has failed to hit anywhere near those heights, finishing fifth in the league with a final day whimper at Newcastle.
The writing has been on the wall for Conte for some time, with him raging against the Chelsea machine for almost 12 months now, most notably over signings.
The favourite to replace him is another Italian, Maurizio Sarri, the Napoli boss who has an €8million release clause in his current contract.
Sarri’s lack of English, allied with his penchant for controversy – he once called Roberto Mancini a "f****t" and admitted he would have told a journalist to "f*** off" had she not been a woman – may well work against a coach who, ironically given the ugliness of his aforementioned outbursts, has turned the Partenopei into one of Europe’s most beautiful teams over the past two years.
That could open the door to ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, looking to get back into management following his sabbatical after leaving Camp Nou; the Champions League winner priced himself out of a move to Arsenal. The Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim could also still be a contender.
Sam Allardyce remains in purgatory, the ex-England boss seemingly still unsure whether he’s coming or going having done what he was hired to do at Goodison Park, but without ever remotely looking like endearing himself to Everton supporters.
Within an hour after the Toffees’ finale against one of his former sides, West Ham, Allardyce admitted "generally there’s no smoke without fire," with regards an imminent thanks but no thanks from owner Farhad Moshiri.
Everton are undergoing a major restructuring job behind the scenes with Steve Walsh likely to go and be replaced by Marcel Brands, the PSV Eindhoven technical director.
In the dugout, they remain fascinated with Marco Silva, the Portugese coach sacked by Watford after having his head turned by the Toffees’ overtures after Ronald Koeman’s exit.
The Merseysiders’ have also been keeping tabs on Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonesca.
Having arrived on a short-term deal with the remit to keep Southampton in the Premier League, Mark Hughes has done precisely that.
The Welshman took eight points from eight games to enable a badly under-performing side to escape relegation.
Hughes admits that he would like to remain at the club, with his contract expiring after the final day; "I’ve come in and been able to make an impact. It’s a good club and I would love the opportunity."
It’s understood that the club’s chief decision-makers – chairman Ralph Krueger, and the two vice-chairmen Les Reed and Martin Semmens – are ready to hand Hughes a longer deal, along with his backroom staff, Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki. Key midfielder Oriol Romeu says that Hughes has made "a huge difference".
Stoke owner Peter Coates has conceded the club made "significant errors" on transfers last summer and in not sacking Hughes sooner.
He has also credited Paul Lambert with making the environment more professional and the Scot – who has achieved promotion with Norwich previously – is keen to remain in the Potteries next season and hopes to be given the task of rebuilding the club in the off season.
"I love the club but what happens next week I don’t know," Lambert said on Sunday, ahead of talks over his future with Coates.
Yet the ex-Wolves and Blackburn boss has won just two of 16 games since taking charge. Local reports reckon no definitive decision will be made in the near future, as the board keep their cards close to their chest.
The new manager bounce didn’t last long enough for Carlos Carvalhal, as Swansea City’s stay in the Premier League came to an end.
His short-term deal expires this summer but majority shareholders Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan have already asked whether Carvalhal is willing to stick around; the Portuguese however is yet to answer, admitting himself to be "completely exhausted".
That the Swans board have asked Carvalhal isn’t stopping them looking around for alternatives at a time where ‘ the Swansea way ‘ has been lost.
Ahead of their Championship return, Chris Coleman is 2/1 favourite with bookmakers to be their next manager; after his time at Sunderland, it’s a job he would surely jump at.
Chris Wilder, who has done an outstanding job at Sheffield United, is into 4/1; Wilder has been outspoken on his future at Bramall Lane, where ownership issues could force him to look elsewhere despite being a dyed in the wool Blade. Michael Laudrup has also been linked with a return.
West Bromwich Albion
After the utterly horrendous Alan Pardew reign, West Brom salvaged some pride towards the end of the season thanks to caretaker boss Darren Moore.
Moore has played himself into the position to be considered to lead next season’s promotion push after reinvigorating not just the playing staff, but all those involved at the training ground and around the club on a day-to-day basis; wins over Manchester United and Tottenham will have helped also.
If it’s not to be Big Dave, then there is one other man to whom the Baggies board are looking to turn: Brentford boss Dean Smith.
The Brummie boss transformed Walsall in his first managerial role and has since enhanced his reputation as head coach at Brentford, who have consistently played some of the Championship’s most-stylish football under his stewardship.
West Ham United
David Moyes joined West Ham and found a team lacking in fitness, down on confidence and looking destined for a long arduous relegation battle as they sat in the bottom three.
In the end, he has taken a club where the board and its fans are at odds into a safe mid-table position, his remit when handed the reins.
He did so despite injuries to key players and a lack of major financial backing in January; he put steel into a side that had previously been without and got the very best from Marko Arnautovic, the £28million summer signing who swept the board at the player of the year awards, but had failed to score a goal prior to the Scot’s arrival. Still, it appears it won’t be enough, with no announcement on his future despite his contract running out at midnight.
Seemingly, they are pitching themselves in the same managerial market as Everton: Marco Silva has been mooted, while it’s believed Paulo Fonseca will meet with club officials.
However, the outlier, and the man who will show the level of Messrs. Sullivan, Gold and Brady’s ambition, is Unai Emery, the outgoing Paris Saint-Germain coach. A three-times Europa League winner with Sevilla, he won’t come cheap.
The final Premier League 2017/18 table
1. MANCHESTER CITY – 100
2. Manchester United – 81
3. Tottenham – 77
4. Liverpool – 75
5. Chelsea – 70
6. Arsenal – 63
7. Burnley – 54
8. Everton – 49
9. Leicester – 47
10. Newcastle – 44
11. Crystal Palace – 44
12. Bournemouth – 44
13. West Ham – 42
14. Watford – 41
15. Brighton – 40
16. Huddersfield – 37
17. Southampton – 36
18. Swansea – 33
19. Stoke – 33
20. West Brom – 31
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