New Leeds manager: Victor Orta jets to Spain for talks with No 1 candidate as report clarifies Postecoglou position

Jose Bordalas on the right, head coach of Valencia and Andoni Iraola, head coach of Rayo Vallecano during the Spanish championship La Liga football match between Valencia CF and Rayo Vallecano on November 27, 2021 at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, Spain

Leeds United are reportedly edging closer to the appointment of their next manager after two sources claimed Victor Orta was heading to Spain for talks with the club’s No 1 preferred candidate.

The Whites are in the process of seeking a new boss after calling time on Jesse Marsch’s reign on Monday. The American lasted just under a year in the Elland Road hotseat and after replacing the legendary Marcelo Bielsa. But despite saving Leeds from the drop last term, he could not build on that and leaves with Leeds 17th in the table.

The process of finding his successor began at Leeds immediately after Marsch was shown the door. And former Whites coach Carlos Coberan, who honed his trade under Bielsa coaching Leeds’ Under-23s, was soon installed as favourite.

However, the Spaniard has since been emphatically ruled out the running, signing a new deal to stay at West Brom. Having taken them from the relegation picture into the play-off zone in 13 games, he clearly deserves his payrise.

And while Leeds are admirers of their former coach, it is understood he is not the name on top of their list.

That honour appears to fall upon Rayo Vallecano coach Andoni Iraola. The Spaniard is a former player of Bielsa’s and has been making some serious waves in Spain.

Having taken Vallecano from Segunda, they are now fifth in La Liga. The 40-year-old was giving nothing away, though, when questioned about the Leeds vacancy earlier this week.

However, the Daily Mail are adamant he is the No 1 choice for Leeds. And they state that the club’s director of football Orta has provided an update to the squad on the state of play.

Leeds travel to Manchester United on Wednesday for a daunting, and somewhat ill-timed, rescheduled fixture.

Orta jets out for talks with Andoni Iraola

The Whites will have former Man Utd coach Chris Armas in charge, assisted by Leeds’ Under-21s coach Michael Skubala.

However, the club will hope to deliver a positive update on Marsch’s permanent successor before Sunday’s return clash with the Red Devils.

Per the Mail, Orta will fly out to Madrid for talks with Iraola on Wednesday.

There, he plans to negotiate a deal to bring the coach to Leeds and negotiate the terms of the buying out of his Vallecano contract. Operating a high-press style and in a 4-2-3-1 formation, he appears a good fit for the Leeds ethos.

Claims that Leeds United’s top choice is Iraola are backed up by journalist Mo Ibrahim, who works for Di Marzio.

He also claims that the Premier League side will hold talks with the Spaniard on Wednesday over a potential move to West Yorkshire.

Ange Postecoglou out of Leeds running

One man who isn’t seemingly on Leeds United’s wanted list is Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou.

The Australian has done a stellar job at Celtic Park. Indeed, his attractive brand of football has helped wrestle back the title from Rangers. He is regularly linked with Premier League vacancies, having been mentioned as a candidate for the Leicester and Aston Villa jobs earlier this season.

And Postecoglou figures again quite highly among the reported shortlist to succeed Marsch at Elland Road.

However, the Daily Record reports that Celtic are yet to receive any contact from Leeds over the vacancy.

Furthermore, the paper claims Bhoys chief executive Michael Nicholson and chairman Peter Lawwell believe the 57-year-old to be happy where he is and committed to the Celtic cause.

Either way, Leeds do hope to have a new man in place come Sunday’s game against Manchester United.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, Skubala insists he is happy to help the club. But he is also keen to stress that he believes his role will only be short term.

“This is a temporary situation,” Skubala said. “I’m happy to support the club and look after the club at this moment in time while they work really hard to find a new head coach.

“I’ll go back to my old role when this is done. I’ll just do the best job I can do.”

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