Leeds find potential Bielsa successor who wants to work in the Prem

Diego Martinez Granada

Leeds United could reportedly turn their attention to a Spanish manager if Marcelo Bielsa leaves the club.

The tactician has become a hero at Elland Road since taking over in July 2018. He guided the Whites to third place in the Championship during his first full season in charge, before they were beaten by Derby County in the play-off semi-final.

His second season would be even better as Leeds stormed to the title on 93 points, playing an expansive style of football in the process.

They recorded a top ten finish in the Premier League last term and continued to gain admirers thanks to the excitement they caused.

Leeds have been slow starters this time around and only picked up their first win against Watford at the weekend.

But Bielsa, as always, has the full trust of the club’s fans and senior board members. They know that without him their recent journey would have barely been possible.

However, the Argentine is now 66 years old. That means potential successors must be considered in the near future.

The Athletic have provided one name who could take over in the event of Bielsa’s departure or retirement.

The report by Adam Leventhal focuses on Watford’s sacking of Xisco Munoz and the arrival of his replacement, Claudio Ranieri.

But it also sheds some light on what is going on behind the scenes at Elland Road.

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Leventhal writes: “Diego Martinez, the former Granada head coach, who has spent time in the UK working on his English and watching Premier League football, was linked but a source close to the Spaniard says Watford didn’t approach him.

“The highly regarded 40-year-old also has links with Leeds director of football Victor Orta, who may need a replacement for Marcelo Bielsa after the end of this season. Working in England is certainly on his radar.”

Bielsa’s tends to agree one-year contracts before the start of each campaign. He is expected to sign an extension for next term, but Orta will have Martinez on his list of replacements just in case.

Martinez’s best spell as a manager came at Granada in Spain. He achieved promotion to La Liga during his first season with the club.

They went on to finish 7th the following campaign, qualifying them for the Europa League for the first time. Manchester United ultimately knocked them out in the quarter-final.

Martinez allowed his contract to expire in May and has since remained a free agent.

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Leeds make Raphinha request

The Whites have requested that star player Raphinha returns from international duty early.

Raphinha was named in Brazil’s squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

But his involvement means he is likely to miss the Premier League clash against Southampton on October 16.

There are doubts over whether he will named as exempt from quarantine measures when returning to the UK. Furthermore, Brazil’s game against Uruguay is on October 15, making any appearance back in England unlikely.

Leeds are among six Prem clubs making the request, the Daily Mail report. Brazil have also called up the likes of Ederson, Thiago Silva and Fabinho.

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