Any time a head coach leaves, in any sport, it’s an odd time for the rest of the coaching staff who have, to no small degree, tied their success to that of the head coach. When a coach is fired, the staff is also typically let go, in an attempt to clear the slate and start fresh. When a coach leaves of his own free will, though, it’s a little more awkward, as the assistants are generally left sort of waiting around with their hands in their pockets for the team to hire a new coach, and for that coach to decide whether he wants to work with the current assistants or bring in his own, more known-quantity assistants.
Today, Arsenal fans got a lot of clarity on that front, as Unai Emery named more of his staff, and conversely, as Arsenal announced the departures of several current assistants. Inbound, we have Juan Carlos Carcedo joining Pablo Villanueva, strength and conditioning coach Julen Masach, goalkeeping coach Javi Garcia and video analyst Victor Manas in making the move from PSG to Arsenal.
Going out the door, at the same time, are long time Arsenal assistants Neil Banfield, Tony Colbert, Gerry Peyton and Boro Primorac, along with head of medical services Colin Lewin. The biggest name out the door? Jens Lehmann, who just rejoined the club a season ago. Lehmann, at least, didn’t necessarily take the news with a smile:
Dear #Arsenal Fans , I am sorry to leave the club after only one year again. It was a good experience working with the players as one of the assistant-coaches. But the attitude from our 2004-group is not needed there anymore.— Jens Lehmann (@jenslehmann) June 19, 2018
Lehmann speaks very good English, so I doubt that’s a translation issue; he seems genuinely unhappy about the direction the club has turned. I mean, if I were let go a year into a new job, I’d probably be unhappy too, but I can’t say it’s all that surprising, given the new coach has to have some sort of say in who works for him.
Long time assistant Steve Bould, on the other hand, will be staying, in part to provide some continuity. What remains to be seen is whether Bould’s role will be enlarged, or whether he’ll still be the sort of silent consigliere he seemed to be in the last few Arsenal seasons.
With the coaching staff mostly in place, Emery seems poised to hit the ground running once the World Cup is done; get a few of those player rumors moved over into the transfers completed column, and this summer will truly take off.