The decision was made at the beginning of last week: unless a miracle happened in the game against Girona, Natxo González was to be sacked as head coach at Malaga CF. The choice was as clear as day for the club's sporting director, Manolo Gaspar, who already knew the outgoing coach's replacement: Pablo Guede.
Gaspar was always open with González. The now ex-coach, whose restraint was one of his key features, slowly lost the confidence of most at the club, until he himself let slip his level-headedness: in the post-match press conference after a poor display against Huesca, González, who is no fool, all but said he wouldn't survive the week.
All the agents who offered Gaspar head coaches all received the same answer: "Thank you, but we've already made a decision." In reality, the club only accelerated next season's project because it was always intended for Guede to take over, but Malaga's current situation meant that he had to come in a few months ahead of schedule.
It's no secret that Pablo Guede was always on Manolo Gaspar's radar. The Argentine, who played a key role at the club as a player during the late nineties, had always shown a key interest in managing the Blue and Whites, and closely followed them in his coaching career.
He has arrived at Malaga by himself, unaccompanied by his usual backroom staff, but that is a temporary measure, as the important thing is to lead the team to safety. Guede knows the sticky situation the Andalusians are in, which is why his willingness to take over is valued highly by the club.
Gaspar knows that Malaga fans will not stand for another season of mediocrity and aiming to simply survive another campaign, which is why the club needs an ambitious project. Guede was mainly chosen for his charisma and strong personality, but he also has a mammoth rebuild ahead of him.
Guede's arrival carries a heavier burden than expected. Once the season is over, there will need to be a major squad overhaul. The rebuild will see sporting director Gaspar work hand-in-hand with the new coach, and many players are at risk of not being renewed if they don't impress.
Character and leadership are quailties that will be looked for in future signings, which is what the current roster clearly lacks.
Guede is also known for having those traits, which he showed during his time on the pitch and he tries to stamp onto his players. The Argentine is temperemental and energetic while on the bench, and one of his virutes is his passion.
The new coach is also known for his dynamic approach to matches. That is, how he lets games play out. He's not afraid of making in-the-moment changes, which would radically alter the team's shape or mindset. He likes to adapt positions to players, rather than the players to the formation.
He expects a lot from everyone and the capacity to maintain the team in unison and with a common objective always in sight. The Argentine takes no prisoners, and no one's position on the pitch is safe. Guede is clear: players need to give their maximum, whether or not they're in the starting eleven.