Leeds United hope that Marcelo Bielsa will remain as manager for a fifth season, but are lining up candidates in case the Argentine decides to bring an end to his tenure at Elland Road, according to The Telegraph.
While Mike McGrath claims no approaches have been made by sporting director Victor Orta, three names have already been listed as potential replacements should Bielsa leave: Carlos Corberan, Jesse Marsch and Ernesto Valverde.
Three candidates in frame to replace Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds United manager if he leaves this summer:— Football Transfers (@Transferzone00) February 10, 2022
- Jesse Marsch
- Ernesto Valverde
- Carlos Corberán
(via @mcgrathmike )
Corberan is already well known by Leeds; the 38-year-old was the Whites’ U23s manager between 2017 and 2020, whilst also taking on first team coach responsibilities in 2018.
The Spaniard is now in charge at Huddersfield Town, and while the Terriers had to settle for 20th place in 20/21, this season Leeds’ West Yorkshire neighbours are currently sitting in fifth with 49 points, just six points off the automatic promotion places.
Bielsa’s influence on Corberan has been clear to see, with aspects of Bielsaball enacted into Huddersfield’s style of play.
6 players— Sporting Life ⛳️ (@SportingLifeFC) October 22, 2020
⚽️ 1 classy finish
Huddersfield's team goal this week - scored by Juninho Bacuna and assisted by @Harry_Toffolo - really was like watching Brazil...@htafc #HTAFC pic.twitter.com/2u9oHUvkpz
Meanwhile, Jesse Marsch represents a more experienced figure in the managerial field, having made his name in the United States with New York Red Bulls.
He left the Red Bull franchise having secured 76 wins and 151 goals, and became manager of Austrian sister club Red Bull Salzburg - where he won consecutive league and cup doubles with the help of Erling Haaland - after a brief stint as assistant manager under Ralf Rangnick at RB Leipzig.
A return to Leipzig as manager was ultimately unsuccessful; he lasted for 21 games between July and December of last year. However, Marsch has been described as a “tactical innovator and one of the most exciting young managers in the game”, who possesses a “high tempo, aggressive philosophy” and encourages his sides to press from the front.
The 48-year-old has also proven to be a flexible manager regarding his formations and tactics, which contrasts against Bielsa’s persistence in using a specific system.
The final name on the list is undoubtedly the biggest; Ernesto Valverde succeeded Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao in 2013 and went on to win two La Liga titles with Barcelona between 2017 and 2020.
At Bilbao, he won the club’s first trophy in 31 years by leading them to a 5-1 aggregate victory over Barca in the 2015 Supercopa de Espana, a competition he also won alongside the Copa del Rey with the Catalan giants.
Valverde champions a possession-heavy and high pressing style of play inspired by Johan Cruyff’s total football approach, but is more reserved and balanced compared to the other names on Leeds’ shortlist.
The 57-year-old has been out of work since being sacked by Barcelona in 2020, despite links with the likes of Manchester United.
However, it appears that Leeds’ priorities lie with securing Bielsa for another season. Indeed, he has never stayed at a club as long as he has with United, and although his heart lies with Newell’s Old Boys, there’s every chance that the prospect of continuing his project at Leeds is too exciting to turn away.
What do you make of this initial list of potential candidates? Who would you prefer to see take over should Bielsa leave this summer? Let us know by voting in the poll below and commenting on Twitter.
Which of the three initial candidates would you prefer to take over from Bielsa if he leaves this summer?
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