Leeds manager search: Elland Road chiefs target highly-respected LaLiga coach as Corberan admired but not first-choice

Andoni Iraola Rayo Vallecano

Leeds United are reportedly weighing up an approach for Rayo Vallecano manager Andoni Iraola as they aim to replace Jesse Marsch following the American’s sacking on Monday.

Marsch has lasted less than a year in the job at Elland Road after initially replacing Marcelo Bielsa late last February. The American went on to steer Leeds to top-flight survival with a 17th-placed finish but just two wins from their last 17 league games this season has prompted the club to make a change.

West Brom boss Carlos Corberan was named as the immediate frontrunner for the job, having previously been assistant to Marcelo Bielsa during the Argentine’s successful stint in west Yorkshire.

However, the YEP reports that while Corberan is greatly admired at Elland Road, he is not the No.1 choice to replace Marsch.

Following on from that, The Athletic journalist Phil Hay suggests that Iraola is very much in the Leeds mix.

Iraola actually played for Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao side at the start of last decade and has built his current Vallecano team following the same high-pressing principles of the Elland Road legend.

Having been sacked as AEK Larnaca boss, the 2019/20 campaign with Vallecano saw Iraola make a name for himself as one of the best young coaches in Spanish football.

The 40-year-old took a side that was just promoted to the second tier of Spanish football to the semi-finals of the Spanish Cup, where they beat the likes of Sevilla, Villarreal and Celta Vigo along the way.

Iraola style considered perfect Leeds fit

Vallecano are impressing again this season, currently sitting seventh in LaLiga. Indeed, Iraola’s men are only five points off the Champions League places.

Their brand of football, plus Iraola’s innate ability to improve players makes him an intriguing option for Leeds.

Hiring Iraola would certainly be viewed as a gamble, although the Bielsa links are clearly there in terms of how Rayo Vallecano play.

It just remains to see where Elland Road decision-makers turn next, as they look to prevent relegation from the top flight.

Meanwhile, it’s been confirmed that Chris Armas is staying at Leeds for the time being. Armas and Under-21s coaches Michael Skubala and Paco Gallardo will be in caretaker charge for Wednesday night’s trip to in-form Manchester United.

READ MORE: Six managers Leeds can target after sacking Jesse Marsch, including former Bielsa assistant and a Liverpool legend