Athletic were quick to name Ernesto Valverde’s successor last week when they chose to promote Bilbao Athletic manager, Cuco Ziganda. A week has passed since then with not much activity in Bilbao, but on Wednesday the club finally announced Ziganda’s coaching staff. Missing from that group was Carlos Gurpegui who is a club legend that served under Valverde as an assistant last season. The former defender won’t have a role in the first team, but the club has other ambitious plans for him.
According to a report from Juanma Velasco of Marca, Athletic is going to move Gurpegui into a new role at the club. After completing his year of coaching training, Athletic is expected to make him a coach of one of the Lezama youth teams. In addition, he might also act the assistant coach for either Bilbao Athletic or feeder club CD Basconia.
Gurpegui took over the assistant role last year from Joseba Etxeberria who held the role for the two years prior. Etxeberria, another club legend, took over as the manager of CD Basconia and dreams of one day coaching the first team. That being said, Etxeberria’s future is also one that poses a big question. According to reports he is in the running to take over as the manager of Bilbao Athletic, but he is not the leading candidate and has not been contacted about the vacancy yet. Segunda B club, SD Amorebieta, wants to make him their new manager and it would be a jump up from his current role.
Ziganda’s appointment as the new Athletic Club manager has certainly shaken up things at Lezama. He still views himself as a Lezama coach and wants the academy to flourish more than ever. Gurpegui’s move into a more important coaching role signifies that the club thinks he is ready to take on more responsibility. Likewise, promoting Etxeberria would be a huge step towards one day reaching his personal goal of managing the first team. However, it should be noted that Athletic has made an offer to Gaizka Garitano to take over as the Bilbao Athletic manager, but he has yet to accept or decline. If Etxeberria isn’t promoted, there is a chance that Athletic could allow him to leave on loan to coach Amorebieta seeing that he still has two years left on his contract.