No one is quite sure how they have managed it, but it's looking increasingly likely that Marcelo Bielsa will be the newest manager of Leeds United.
Bielsa may not have the success of a Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, but he is widely regarded as one of the best and most fascinating tactical minds in the game, having coached Argentina, Chile, Athletic Club and Marseille in a career spanning three decades. How a second tier club in England convinced him to come on board is anyone's guess, but according to The Telegraph the deal is more or less done.
The move has been rumoured for weeks, but an agreement was taking so long that the club were expected to begin negotiations with Steve Bruce to take over the first team.
the year is 2084 and a 128 year old Marcelo Bielsa is still in advanced talks with Leeds #lufc
— Armo ?☀️ #NH69 ?? (@Jordan_Armo) June 8, 2018
Leeds are apparently already running potential new signings past Marcelo Bielsa.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) June 8, 2018
There are question marks over whether or not Bielsa's tactical setup can translate to the Championship, but it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the English game, or if the English game will simply have to adapt to him. The Argentine likes to set his teams up in a 3-3-3-1 formation, which allows great transitions from defence to attack. It also gives the team numerical superiority in all parts of the pitch, as they can defend with seven players, attack with six or seven players, or protect a scoreline by overwhelming the midfield with six players. It also requires the players to press aggressively when the opposition is in possession.
The former Lazio manager is a stickler for detail. He edits and analyses hours of football footage, has been known to take pitch measurements before deciding on a final formation, and has drawn diagrams on football boots so the player knows the right place to strike the ball.
Bielsa has many 'disciples' in the football world; players he has inspired and end up becoming more successful than he has ever been. Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Simeone and Jorge Sampaoli are the most well-known examples, while Pep Guardiola called him the "best manager in the world" in 2012. Perhaps he will inspire Eunan O'Kane to become the future World Cup winning manager of Ireland.
Many managers have failed to live up to the expectations of Leeds ever since the club's relegation from the Premier League in 2004. A club often shrouded in chaos is about to hire a manager who is no stranger to chaotic situations. In 2015 he left Marseille after a conflict with the Ligue 1 side's upper management. His next move to Italy lasted two days, prompting Lazio to sue him for €50 million for breach of contract. His last role resulted in a suspension after just 13 games, with Lille letting him go soon after.
Marcelo Bielsa to Leeds promises to be brief but magical. Here he is burning his arse by sitting on hot coffee pic.twitter.com/U3I88aqBY5
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) June 12, 2018
Regardless of the potential tactical and personal issues that Bielsa may bring with him, Leeds fans are upbeat about the appointment and the fact that the club are trying something a bit different.
— Ralph Ineson (@ralphineson) June 11, 2018
— Ryan (@LeedsUtdRyan) June 12, 2018
— Tom Wilson (@tom_wilsonn) June 12, 2018
If Bielsa goes to Leeds, I might just move back
— Hugo Greenhalgh (@HugoGreenhalgh) June 1, 2018
Bielsa to Leeds looking likely done...
Well, well, well...
— Jon Mackenzie (@Jon_Mackenzie) June 4, 2018