Marcelo Bielsa is closing in on a managerial return to the Premier League after talks were stated to be at an ‘advanced’ stage with his potential next club.
The enigmatic Argentine, 67, will forever be remembered fondly for the miracles he worked at Elland Road. Bielsa ended Leeds United’s 16-year absence from the top flight and earned rave reviews for the cavalier style of play he deployed in West Yorkshire.
The Whites’ first season back in the top flight exceeded all expectations when finishing ninth and memorably picking up four points from a possible six against eventual champions Man City.
However, his attack-first tactics ultimately proved his down fall when Leeds were carved open at will in their second season back amongst the big boys.
Bielsa was axed in February after overseeing a run of four successive defeats that saw 17 goals conceded. His dismissal divided opinion among the Leeds fanbase, though the appointment of Jesse Marsch did help the club avoid relegation.
Bielsa has remained out of work since then, though talk of a return to England has recently begun to grow.
Sky Sports claimed Bournemouth had held discussions with the Argentine last week. The Cherries are currently managed by interim boss Gary O’Neil who took the reins following Scott Parker’s sacking just four matches into the season.
O’Neil guided Bournemouth to 10 points in their next six games while going unbeaten. However, the bright start soon faded with their recent 3-0 victory over Everton snapping a four-match losing streak.
Football Insider take Sky’s reporting a step further on Monday, claiming talks between Bielsa and Bournemouth are ‘advanced’.
They state the Cherries are ‘confident’ of reaching a full agreement over the coming days and are understood to have tabled an offer.
Despite O’Neil’s admirable stint in charge, Bournemouth are seeking a more experienced operator as they push to avoid relegation. They currently sit in 14th, though are just clear points clear of the drop zone.
Would Bielsa be a good fit for Bournemouth?
Bournemouth’s primary issue this season has been their leaky defence.
The 32 goals they’ve shipped are the most in the league, with nine coming in the eye-opening 9-0 defeat to Liverpool that saw off Parker.
Bielsa’s teams have never been known for their stoutness in defence, though the intense fitness regime he always implements would get the squad’s running stats up.
No Bielsa team ever lacks in the effort department and a team scrapping their their Premier League survival must rely on outworking opponents who boast superior quality and resources. Leeds did exactly that in their first season back in the EPL with Bielsa at the helm.
Whether he would be a godsend for the Cherries or a disaster waiting to happen is open to debate.
One thing is for sure though, if Bielsa is appointed, there’ll never be a dull moment at the Vitality.