When reports came out on Friday that Claudio Ranieri had been offered the Leeds United managerial job, fans went berserk. While there have been plenty of names bandied about as possible replacements for Garry Monk, few caught the imagination of Leeds fans quite as much as Ranieri. After all, the experienced Italian worked wonders at Leicester City, leading the Midlands club to the unthinkable feat of winning the Premier League.
Ranieri coming to Leeds would seem both fanciful and logical at the same time. The manager has been out of work since being sacked by Leicester back in February after a poor run of form, with his replacement Craig Shakespeare winning the next five league games, and six games overall, after being named caretaker boss on February 23rd after taking over from Ranieri. Shakespeare took the team out of the relegation places to a 12th place finish and the quarterfinals of the Champions League, winning an improbable 8 of the 16 matches he was in charge of for Leicester.
So while it’s natural to assume that the Italian would be in for any number of high-profile jobs, the fleeting nature of his success at Leicester might give some teams pause before naming him boss. After all, he has had a number of jobs since being sacked by Chelsea, and hasn’t lasted more than two seasons at any one place. He might be looking to prove that his success at Leicester wasn’t a flash in the pan, and there would be a natural link with the new manager of Leeds, Andrea Radrizzani, also being Italian.
But the Italian, speaking from his home in London, told TGG: "I don't know anything about this Leeds story. I haven't spoken to them.”
When asked if he would be interested in the Leeds job, Ranieri said: "I prefer not to speculate.”
There are a couple ways of reading this statement from Ranieri. While he has said that he hasn’t spoken to Leeds, he didn’t say any of his representatives had no contact with Leeds, and not “speculating” could mean that he’s either being coy or that he literally has no idea why he’s been linked with the manager’s job at a place he probably hasn’t been to since Chelsea played Leeds in the Premier League in 2004.
So while this isn’t proof that he isn’t coming, it’s by no means proof that he will be the next manager at Leeds. At any rate, it’s fun to dream that the Italian can get the same kind of results out of the players at Leeds as he did at Leicester.