The financial structures of modern football mean steady progression is unworkable and few former players taking the reins of an elite club are likely to have had adequate preparation
Everybody wants their own Pep Guardiola. That is the dream. You take a club legend just beginning his coaching career, stick him in charge of the reserves for a season, give him the top job, then watch as he revolutionises football with a squad based around academy products and wins three league titles and two Champions Leagues. It’s not just winning, but winning your way.
That’s why so many major clubs have turned to former players with limited or no first-hand managerial experience: Juventus with Andrea Pirlo, Chelsea with Frank Lampard, Arsenal with Mikel Arteta. It fosters the exceptionalist dream that underlies so much of what it is to support a club, the feeling you are different, better, more worthy than the others, and it’s good for the branding, taking a popular, recognisable figure to sell that feeling.