Next Leeds manager: Andoni Iraola in modest response to talk of succeeding Marsch as Real Madrid legend ‘rejects’ job

Head coach of Rayo Vallecano Andoni Iraola before La liga match between Levante UD and Rayo Vallecano at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium

Andoni Iraola is refusing to give too much away about links to the Leeds United job, after the Rayo Vallecano coach was asked about their reported interest.

The Whites are on the lookout for a new manager after calling time on Jesse Marsch’s reign. The American lasted just under a year in the hotseat at Elland Road and leaves on the back of their 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest. And with Leeds 17th in the Premier League, the club has decided to move in another direction.

The search for Marsch’s replacement will begin immediately. A brief statement thanked Marsch for his efforts while Leeds later revealed that recently-appointed coach Chris Armas would be in charge for Wednesday’s trip to Old Trafford.

Marsch can at least be thankful he didn’t make this list of shortest Premier League managerial reigns.

As far as Leeds are concerned, they want a new manager appointed as soon as possible. And with the club facing a crucial run of games, the pressure will be on to get the right man in charge.

The early favourite for the job was former Leeds coach Carlos Corberan. He’s worked wonders since taking charge at West Brom. He is also still widely valued at Elland Road for his work alongside Marcelo Bielsa.

However, the Yorkshire Evening Post claims Corberan does not lead the Leeds wishlist.

Instead, that honour falls upon Iraola, who has done a sterling job in charge of Vallecano.

He has helped the Madrid-based club climb to fifth in LaLiga – some reach given they were in Segunda Liga when he took charge in 2020.

However, the 40-year-old was giving nothing away when questioned on the Leeds vacancy after his side’s 2-0 win over Almeria on Monday night.

Andoni Iraola offers modest reply to Leeds manager links

In fact, Iraola offered something of a Bielsa-style reply, with the coach quick to put the emphasis on his players with some modest words.

Speaking to LaLiga’s YouTube channel after the win over Almeria, Iraola refused to be drawn on the Leeds job.

“Football belongs to the footballers, we [coaches] are not that important,” he said. “The players make us look better and I am lucky to have players who are showing their level.

“If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t be achieving anything. I could also use that when we’re not getting the results (laughs). But I am clear about my role, they are the ones who are achieving this.”

While refusing to comment on Leeds, The Athletic claims that Iraola is now the man Victor Orta is ready to turn to to help save Leeds.

Playing a high-press style, but by using the width of the pitch not too dissimilar to Bielsa, he would appear a good fit for Leeds.

Raul Gonzalez rejects Leeds job – reports

One man who won’t be taking the Leeds job, though, is Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez.

The Spain and Los Blancos legend is currently in charge of their reserve side, Real Madrid Castilla.

According to AS, Leeds approached the 45-year-old to see if he fancied the Leeds job.

However, the paper claims Raul has turned down the opportunity with the club looking to secure promotion to La Segunda.

Indeed, multiple reports claim that Raul is instead holding out for the top job at the Bernabeu. Carlo Ancelotti is currently enjoying a hugely-successful second spell in charge. But Raul hopes he will be the man to succeed him and is reported to have rejected the Leeds approach.

Raul has been in charge of Madrid’s B-team for almost four years, taking charge of 103 games. Although having never coached at a senior level, he is one day tipped for the top.

Having once scored at Elland Road in the Champions League, he played for Real Madrid 741 times, scoring 323 goals.

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