Not a man who has stayed at many clubs for too long, Marcelo Bielsa seems to be enjoying life at Leeds United, and could be set to extend his stay.
The Argentine tactician has already become an icon at the West Yorkshire outfit, and now it looks like the love affair between the boss and the city will continue at least into next season.
A Turbulent History
Many questioned how long Leeds would be able to keep hold of the man dubbed ‘El Loco’ upon his surprising arrival at the then Championship side back in 2018. A manager admired around the world, Bielsa did have a record of spending somewhat brief spells at clubs, before either being sacked or resigning.
In the most extreme case, Bielsa spent just two days with Serie A outfit Lazio back in 2016, before walking away from the club. The meticulous coach was adamant he was not provided the players he required in the transfer market, and subsequently left the Italian giants.
With four clubs to his name in the space of six years, many Leeds fans would have been forgiven for expecting another brief stay for the passionate Argentine. However, Bielsa and Leeds proved to be the perfect combination, and, upon his arrival, the new manager hit the ground running in West Yorkshire. Ultimately Leeds fell short of promotion in that first season, but from a team that finished in mid-table the previous campaign, the football the side were playing was unrecognisable.
Back to the Promised Land
After a 16-year absence from the top flight, Leeds finally put to bed the tag of ‘sleeping giants’ as Bielsa led them to the Championship title last year. The Whites learned plenty from the heartbreak of their playoff failure the previous season, and, despite a disrupted campaign, went on to comfortably win the title.
Bielsa has not wavered from his attacking principles, and Leeds continue to play the same brand of football that served them so well in the Championship in the Premier League. With largely the same squad that won the second tier title, Leeds are holding their own in the top flight, and are sitting comfortably in mid-table.
Striker Patrick Bamford is just one player who has come on leaps and bounds under Bielsa, and now there are suggestions the forward could be edging towards an England call-up. Bamford, who is 20/1 in the football betting at Space Casino to finish the Premier League’s top goalscorer this season, found the back of the net 13 times after the club’s first 25 league games of the campaign. Another man who spent brief spells at clubs, Bamford and Bielsa have thrived together at Elland Road.
Talk of the Future
Bielsa has recently indicated he is open to signing a new deal at Elland Road, with owner Andrea Radrizzani eager to see the manager stay. In a press conference before a 3-0 win over Southampton, Bielsa said he would not “manage any other options until my job here at Leeds is done”.
Reports have also suggested Bielsa has been heavily involved in the recruitment process ahead of the summer. Once again, this is a strong indication the 65-year-old is looking to extend his stay at Elland Road.
There is a long way to go until Bielsa could be mentioned in the same breath as the great Don Revie at Leeds United, but the maverick manager is certainly making his mark at a club on the up.