Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Leeds chief Orta makes first approach for Bielsa successor who is studying English football

Matthew Briggs
Diego Martinez Granada May 2021

Diego Martinez is in England “studying” English football amid a report claiming Leeds United chief Victor Orta has held talks with the manager over replacing Marcelo Bielsa.

There is no suggestion of Bielsa getting sacked at Elland Road, despite the Whites poor start to the season. Leeds are just two points clear of the relegation zone after just two wins from their first 12 games. However, there is no pressure from inside the club or from the fans to remove the Argentinian.

The 66-year-old tactician has taken on legendary status since taking over in July 2018. He guided the Whites to the Championship title with 93 points.

Then recorded a top-10 finish in the Premier League last term with their energetic pressing game.

This season injuries to key players have halted their progress.

It’s understood that Orta is fully behind Bielsa, but with the former Marseille manager’s contract up in the summer, he is looking at alternatives.

Bielsa is not a stranger to extending his deal season by season, but Orta is putting a plan in place in case Bielsa walks away this time around.

Super Deporte via Sport Witness says Orta “has already made a first approach” to the Spanish coach.

Martinez, who saw his contract with Granada expire in May 2021, is in England brushing up on his English. And he is keen on a job in England.

The Spanish outlet claim say “everything suggests” that he will be Bielsa’s replacement at Leeds next season. While La Razon also state that Martinez has been ‘endorsed’ by Orta.

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Working in England ‘on Martinez’s radar’

Martinez does not want to take charge of a team in the middle of the season. Reports claimed he turned down advances from Villarreal after Unai Emery was approached by Newcastle. So if Bielsa vacated his role at Elland Road next summer then the timing for the 40-year-old would be perfect.


Martinez was reportedly in line for the Watford job, however they have since appointed Claudio Ranieri.

Last month The Athletic’s Adam Leventhal wrote: “Diego Martinez, the former Granada head coach, who has spent time in the UK working on his English and watching Premier League football, was linked but a source close to the Spaniard says Watford didn’t approach him.

“The highly regarded 40-year-old also has links with Leeds director of football Victor Orta, who may need a replacement for Marcelo Bielsa after the end of this season. Working in England is certainly on his radar.”

READ MORE: Leeds ‘beat Barcelona and Man City’ in race for Spanish attacker with impressive record