1:00 p.m., August 8, 2022
In the NBA, it’s a reflex. North American basketball franchises looking for a new coach often draw on assistants from other teams. Ime Udoka led the Boston Celtics to the final in June for his first head coaching experience. Previously, he had spent nine seasons in the costume of a number two. The movement is accelerating. This summer, Sacramento entrusted its progress to Mike Brown, who played a key role with Steve Kerr at the Golden State Warriors, defending champions. The Los Angeles Lakers (Darvin Ham) and the Utah Jazz (Will Hardy) followed the same trajectory. This promotion system has an equivalent in European football.
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At Manchester City, Pep Guardiola is forced to renew his staff at regular intervals because his assistants are wanted. In June, Juanma Lillo sat on the bench of Al-Sadd (Qatar). He was Guardiola’s “mentor” since their meeting in 1996, and his main collaborator for two seasons. Another Spaniard replaced him: Rodolfo Borrell, 51, employed by City since 2014. He had been Lionel Messi’s first coach at Barça. Guardiola completed the coaching with Enzo Maresca. The Italian knows the house: he had won the championship title with the under-23s in 2021, before flying on his own in Parma, in the Italian Serie B. This summer, he would have rejected offers as head coach to become a Citizen of the shadows again.
Arteta at the height
The youngest of the staff, Carlos Vicens (39), would have deserted the north of England in turn if Heracles Almelo, a small Dutch club which had chosen him to grow together, had not been relegated.
An experience with Guardiola is a line on the CV that attracts leaders. In December 2019, he granted an exit voucher to Mikel Arteta, requested by Arsenal. After a difficult start, the former PSG midfielder proved to be up to it. Domènec Torrent had less success in New York, Flamengo and Galatasaray, after his emancipation (2018). Already in 2012, in Barcelona, Pep had passed the baton to his assistant and friend Tito Vilanova, brilliant but swept away by cancer in his second season.
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Also in Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp expects to be attacked for one of his assistants: Pep Lijnders, 39, has revealed that Arsenal approached him three years ago. Arteta wanted to make him his right arm. But this Dutchman already has the profile of a number one, as he was briefly in Nijmegen (2018). The day the other Pep is ready to dive back in, he will be, according to Klopp, an “exceptional” manager.