Marcelo Bielsa has given the clearest indication yet he’s willing to sign a new contract to keep him at Leeds next season – but refuses to commit to giving a definite response just yet.
Leeds have enjoyed a rollercoaster ride in their first campaign back in the Premier League since 2004.
Despite suffering three defeats from their last four the club appear to have put themselves beyond the clutches of a relegation scrap.
Leeds’ return to prominence has been masterminded by their enigmatic coach Bielsa.
The Argentine had been lauded for the impact he has made on a squad that largely resembles the one he took over in 2018.
Bielsa is a cult hero in West Yorkshire, though fans face an agonising wait each year waiting to learn if he will remain with the club.
This is due to the manager only signing one-year extensions towards the latter part of the campaign.
However, a report over the weekend claimed Bielsa is “invested in Leeds’ long-term future”, suggesting an extension could soon be signed.
And ahead of Tuesday evening’s Premier League clash against Southampton, Bielsa indicated his happiness at Leeds.
“I need to give you a complete response so we don’t have to talk about this subject too much,” he said (via Leeds Live).
“I don’t imagine for my professional future.
“But there is nothing better than what Leeds represent as a job. Given how the club is and the principles that they have. Due to the public, the stadium, the fans because due to the project the club is undertaking, due to the knowledge I have and the people here, there is a lot of knowledge I have accumulated. Due to being integrated to the city and also to this region in England and also what surrounds it, Yorkshire.
“I also value a lot the people that surround me and work for the club. I say this to justify, so I don’t appear someone who is predicting the future because all of the things I say now are true.
“Apart from that I would like to clear two things that are totally sincere. I would not like them to be interpret as false modesty.
“I want to make it clear what false modesty is – it’s when the person says something and someone thinks it’s something else.
“Firstly, I didn’t take Leeds to the Premier League. I manage here thanks to Leeds.
“The second thing is absolutely true. Coaches that demand a lot are many, infinite. To have footballers who accept this high demanding, there are very few. So the improvements that the Leeds United players have had has more to do with their capacity to adhere to this effort, rather than me.
“For me to give this response, it doesn’t have any speculation that benefits me, it’s the opposite.”
Despite not giving a firm answeer, Bielsa insists he won’t give moving elsewhere a thought while so settled at Leeds.
“I would not consider any alternatives until may job here at Leeds is done,” he added. “I am not going to be in contact with anyone and no-one has offered me anything. It is the least I can do given how I have been treated by the president of the club.
“I understand that the club may have the needs to clear this up more quickly. I think it’s a normal, logical precaution they must take. That’s why I think it’s perfectly normal to have a list of alternatives.
“Although it has not been manifested publically, it’s normal for a club to act this way. If the club needs an answer prior to the end of the season, I will respond in the anticipated manner. But I would like it to leave it clear, Leeds as a project surpasses me as a coach.
“Any coach would like to work at this club, given how it has been designed. There is still a dozen games, a third of the season left. And the game always offer conclusions that help make the correct decisions.
“I always propose that all the games are finished, not for me, not for those that give me a job. Perhaps in the third of the season that’s left they could perhaps confirm that they want to continue with me, but it could also happen that they don’t, or they could doubt.
“So it’s not me who has an attitude of speculation against Leeds. It’s just a precaution that tends to favour the club and not me. I repeat – don’t listen to this answer as me predicting the future.
“The big coaches in the world, and I’m not considering myself as one of them, any of them would love to work in an organisation like the one Leeds have built.”
Leeds keen on deal for Ligue 1 powerhouse
Leeds have joined the race to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare, according to a report.
Soumare was a top target for Newcastle in January 2020, with Steve Bruce admitting they had a plane booked for him before he changed his mind.
However, a report over the weekend claimed it was Leicester who were now leading the chase to sign the France U21 star.
Fabrizio Romano claims the Foxes had already contacted his agent over a prospective summer deal.
With just 12 months left on his current deal come the summer, Lille are expected to cash in on Soumare.
Now, a report has stated that has also piqued Leeds’ interest. Reports at the weekend claimed Marcelo Bielsa has drawn up a list of summer targets for Leeds, raising hopes he will stay in charge. And with midfield additions their focus, Soumare has been tipped as a target.
Bielsa’s side have done well on their return to the Premier League. However, they have struggled whenever lynchpin Kalvin Phillips misses out. The England star has missed their last two games due to a combination of fitness issues and personal reasons. And in both those matches, Leeds have suffered defeats at Arsenal and Wolves.