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Leeds reach ‘full agreement’ to appoint Jesse Marsch; American warned of fan backlash

Leeds United manager target Jesse Marsch

Leeds Utd are on course to appoint Jesse Marsch as their new manager, though one observer has warned it won’t be easy to replace Marcelo Bielsa in the fans’ eyes.

The Whites called time on the managerial reign of Marcelo Bielsa on Sunday morning. The Argentine will forever go down in the club’s folklore as the man who guided Leeds back into the Premier League after an agonising 16-year wait.

Bielsa generated a deep connection with the club’s vociferous support and the heartfelt words of the club’s chiefs in their official statement indicated how difficult their decision was.

However, results on the pitch ultimately trump all, and Leeds’ poor form has seen them dragged into a perilous relegation scrap.

With Leeds again suffering another heavy defeat when falling 4-0 to Tottenham on Saturday, the decision was made to dismiss the 66-year-old a day later.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay claimed Leeds have plans afoot to make a permanent tribute to their former manager. That could come in the form of a statue outside Elland Road.

Jesse Marsch to succeed Bielsa

But for the time being, all eyes will be on who the club turn to next, and American Jesse Marsch appears odds-on to take the reins.

That’s according to widespread reports, including from trusted journalist Fabrizio Romano.

The Italian tweeted Leeds have a ‘full agreement’ on a ‘verbal basis’ with the 48-year-old. The final details of his appointment will reportedly be ironed out in the ‘coming hours’. Among those will be securing a work permit.

Sky Sports, the Guardian and the Mirror were among other outlets to confirm Marsch is poised to become the next Leeds manager. While the final details will be worked out today, an official announcement is not expected until Monday.

Jesse Marsch RB Leipzig 2022 TEAMtalk1

Marsch has managed at four clubs since earning his stripes as assistant manager with the USA National team 10 years ago. He can count Montreal Impact and the three Red Bull clubs: New York, Salzburg and Leipzig on his CV.

In regards to what type of manager Leeds will be appointing, Sky Sports’ Tim Thornton offered his view. But in doing so, he warned the American it’ll be “difficult” to succeed Bielsa and there’ll only be one way to win the fans over.

“I think Marsch would be a good fit,” said Thornton. “He plays a similar style of football.

Chelsea lead race against Barcelona for Leeds winger Raphinha this summer

Chelsea lead race against Barcelona for Leeds winger Raphinha this summer

Chelsea lead the race for Raphinha from Leeds United with Barcelona falling short

“It didn’t work out for him at RB Leipzig but he was only there for a very short period of time.

“But it will be difficult for anyone to come in and succeed Marcelo Bielsa. The only way I think he’ll win the fans over is by getting results and keeping Leeds in the Premier League.”

Leeds currently sit just two points above the relegation zone in 16th place. However, both Burnley in 18th and Everton in 17th have two games in hand over the Yorkshire club.

As such, Marsch will have no room for manoeuvre once installed in the Elland Road hotseat.

Radrizzani, Orta lead Bielsa tributes

Meanwhile, club chairman Andrea Radrizzani revealed just how hard it had been to move on from the fan favourite.

“This has been the toughest decision I have had to make during my tenure at Leeds United, taking into account all the success Marcelo has had at the club,” Radrizzani said in Leeds’ official statement confirming the end of Bielsa’s tenure.

“With Marcelo as our head coach, we had three incredible campaigns and the good times returned to Elland Road. He changed the culture of the club and brought a winning mentality to us all.

“The moments created, particularly in the 2019/20 season and winning promotion to the Premier League, will of course live long in all our memories, myself and the fans included.

“However, I have to act in the best interest of the club. I believe a change is required now in order to secure our Premier League status.  Recent results and performances have not met our expectations.

“We find ourselves in a precarious league position. I feel now is the right time to bring in a new head coach, in order to have an impact in the decisive stage of the season.

“Naturally, myself, along with everyone else at the club would like to thank Marcelo for his efforts and achievements and we wish him the very best for the future.”

Director of Football Victor Orta’s words on the “disappointing” end of Bielsa can be found here.