The Athletic’s Phil Hay has delivered an update on Marcelo Bielsa’s former assistant Diego Flores, and even gave his verdict on whether he could eventually replace the Leeds United boss.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “Diego Flores made a very quiet exit from Leeds United last year, deciding he was ready for a rest. He’s now taken up his first manager’s job (at Godoy Cruz) and between intense running, ruthless subs and a quick impact, it looks like he’s a chip off the old block.”
And then, in a follow-up article for The Athletic, Hay added: “Marcelo Bielsa’s staff were ecstatic about escaping from the Championship and nobody doubted Flores’ part in it. He was an assistant and colleague on whom Bielsa had leaned in more ways than one during the previous two years. Flores, from Cordoba in Argentina, was a sharp analyst with a growing interest in day-to-day coaching. Bielsa trusted him and used him briefly as his media interpreter, taking Flores with him to football seminars in the Americas.
“Bielsa lost him with reluctance because Flores was dependable and blessed with the analytical nous Bielsa valued but the demands at Leeds were heavy — long hours, few days off — and the now-40-year-old wanted space to draw breath. At Leeds, Flores was regarded as a bright and intelligent member of Bielsa’s inner circle, multi-lingual and compliant.”
Given everything Bielsa has done and achieved in his spell as Leeds United boss, it’s become almost unimaginable to think of a future without the charismatic Argentine sitting on his haunches in the dugout at Elland Road, barking out instructions and cutting an animated figure.
Bielsa has very much become part of the furniture in Yorkshire, and the Whites’ current Premier League status is more down to him than anyone else.
When the time does come when Bielsa decides to call it quits, then Andrea Radrizzani and co will have a sizeable task on their hands. If they opt to replace him with someone who could try and continue Bielsa-ball, then Flores may well be that man.
And, after a question from a fan about whether Flores could be seen as a potential successor to Bielsa, Hay responded: “Unless his impact is incredible in Argentina, I think the Leeds job would come too early for Flores to be seriously considered. I might be wrong but he’s at the very start of his managerial career. Early days for him. I know what you mean about the transition from Bielsa – a prospect that everyone will be anxious about when the time comes.”
As Hay says, it’s early days, but given how much of a trusted figure he was of Bielsa’s, and the fact he appears to be “a chip off the old block”, it could well turn out to be an inspiring appointment.
Whatever the case, Hay’s verdict is sure to leave fans intrigued about whether Flores could make a return to Elland Road.
Meanwhile, Leeds are still tracking this star…