Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is seeking close to £17m in damages from his former club Lille over their decision to terminate his contract back in December 2017.
The Argentine coach was appointed as head coach of the Ligue 1 outfit in May 2017, but had just 13 matches in charge before he was “suspended momentarily” pending a further announcement. Lille then announced Bielsa’s two-year contract had been terminated three weeks later, with the French side’s sporting adviser Luis Campos revealing later that he felt the decision by Bielsa to let some of their more experienced players leave as being key to his departure.
Either way, Bielsa is a man of principle and he feels his dismissal at Lille was grossly unfair and Wednesday’s edition of L’Equipe [via Sport Witness] reports the Leeds United manager is seeking €19m from Lille. That’s made up of the rest of the contract he had left and further payments for damages.
The paper also claims Bielsa – who agreed to stay at Leeds for the 2019/20 season – is claiming a further €4m for his assistants.
Perhaps typical of the man, Bielsa plans to represent himself in court – the appeal is expected to be heard some time early next year – as he “wants to give his side of the story personally”.
Again via Sport Witness, Benjamin Cabagno, who is representing the manager, is quoted as saying: “The public announcement in February 2017 of Marcelo’s arrival helped the club to obtain the necessary contributions to finance a business project based on the principle of “player trading” in the goal of a quick return on investment. It will be interesting to evaluate the period of integration and influence (of Bielsa) on the players who will be transferred for very high sums.”
Bielsa is known as being a man of principle, who does not like people going back on their word. It’s also the reason why he walked out of Lazio after just two days at the helm, realising that promises made were there to be broken.
The Leeds boss also gave the rarely-seen order to allow his side let opponents Aston Villa walk in an equaliser during their 1-1 draw back in April, while Bielsa also went to great lengths to explain his actions following the now-infamous Spygate saga.
Get the latest personalised Whites products on our new TEAMtalk Leeds United shop!