Leeds United

Leeds United

Championship

Next Leeds manager: Report names shock downgrade Whites are considering as pressure on Gracia ramps up

Javi Gracia, Leeds

Javi Gracia’s position as Leeds United manager is under serious threat and a report has revealed the surprising manager who could replace him amid the club’s relegation fight.

Gracia took over at Elland Road in February following the sacking of Jesse Marsch earlier that month. However, the Spaniard was not the first choice of Leeds director of football Victor Orta, with the likes of Andoni Iraola and Arne Slot rejecting the club first.

Leeds brought in Gracia on a flexible contract lasting until the end of the season. He was told that if he does well he will get a shot at managing Leeds next season, whereas if they are relegated he will leave the club.

Leeds won Gracia’s first game in charge as they beat fellow strugglers Southampton 1-0 at home. But they have only won two of their 10 Premier League matches since then.

That includes a five-match winless run stretching back to April 9, during which they have lost four games and conceded 18 goals.

On Monday, the Daily Mail revealed that Gracia is coming under increasing pressure in West Yorkshire. Leeds officials are becoming seriously concerned about the team’s dire form and are considering sacking him in order to save their top-flight status. Following the 2-2 draw between Leicester and Everton on Monday night, Leeds are just above the relegation zone in 17th place, though that is only because they have a better goal difference than Nottingham Forest.

The Mail claim Leeds have lined up Lee Bowyer as a shock candidate to take over from Gracia and salvage their campaign. Bowyer has a good relationship with the Leeds supporters, having made 256 appearances for the club between 1996 and 2003, during which he played in both the Champions League and UEFA Cup.

Despite Bowyer’s strong affinity for Leeds, he is almost certainly a downgrade on Gracia in terms of management. Bowyer has only ever been in charge of two clubs before – Charlton and Birmingham – and has never managed in the Prem. Birmingham sacked him in July last year and he has been out of work ever since.

Leeds eye veteran manager alongside Bowyer

Bowyer is not the only man Leeds are considering, though. According to The Athletic’s Leeds reporter Phil Hay, Leeds are also planning to hold talks with Sam Allardyce. Hay adds that Gracia is expected to be axed ‘today’ (Tuesday).

Leeds chiefs believe Allardyce’s vast experience and knowledge of relegation battles should be enough to keep them up.

However, it would be a controversial appointment to bring in someone who is towards the end of his career and actually failed to keep his last club, West Brom, in the Prem.

Leeds’ hunt for a new boss comes after a respected fan group labelled the season ‘humiliating’ and demanded immediate action.