Former Leeds midfielder linked with shock return as Bielsa’s successor

Date published: Friday 10th January 2020 11:23

Leeds United are reportedly tracking Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer as a potential successor to Marcelo Bielsa in the event that the Argentinian leaves Elland Road. 

Bowyer, who made 265 appearances for the Whites between 1996 and 2003, has been in his current role since March 2018 and guided the Addicks to promotion from League One last season.

Charlton have offered the 43-year-old a new five-year deal with his current contract set to expire this summer.

However, speaking to The Athletic‘s Phil Hay Show Podcast, Leeds journalist Hay indicated that the Whites are considering a move for Bowyer should Bielsa leave the club.

Bielsa activated a one-year extension to his terms at Elland Road in May but his future beyond then is unclear and dependent on Leeds’ success in the race for Premier League promotion.

Hay said: “The name I keep hearing over and over again is Lee Bowyer at Charlton.

“[Leeds] do seem very very keen on him.

“I think it would all be a case of timing and circumstances, depending on how well he was doing and who else is in the frame.”

It’s been a new dawn at Charlton in recent weeks with East Street Investments completing their takeover earlier this month, with controversial much-maligned owner Roland Duchatalet ousted from the club.

Speaking about his new deal, Bowyer said: “Unfortunately my agent is in Los Angeles. I did hear it is five years, which is a positive thing. I am happy with that.

“I would sign today if it is the right deal. It’s a positive thing that something has been sent across. We have a couple of days to digest that and speak again on Saturday if we need to.

“Saturday, who knows, it could all be agreed and then signed on Monday. That is what I would love to happen. The chairman is saying he wants it to happen, so the most important thing is we agree and can put it to bed.”

The Addicks boss was speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with promotion-chasing West Bromwich Albion.

Slaven Bilic’s Baggies beat them 1-0 in the FA Cup last weekend and will be looking for the same outcome in this weekend’s league clash.

 

 

Charlton have been suffering an injury crisis in recent months and have been sliding towards the relegation zone after making a good start to the season, with just one win from their last 14 outings.

“We had a meeting on Wednesday afternoon and I was there for a few hours going through how we can move the club forward,” Bowyer added.

“Everything was positive. We seem to be on the same page, and for me it is exciting.”

At Leeds, it is not expected that Bielsa would hang around for a third season in the Championship in the event the club fails to get promoted.

They currently lead the Championship and boast a comfortable nine-point cushion over third place, looking likely to finally end their 16-year spell outside the top flight.

They will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season, when they dropped off in form in the latter half of the campaign and allowed Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United to leapfrog them into second place.

 

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