According to Phil Hay, writing in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds United had plans in place should a deal for first-choice manager target Marcelo Bielsa fall through.
Since it was announced that Leeds United were seriously pursuing the capture of coaching legend Marcelo Bielsa there’s been many a glowing face amongst the Whites fanbase.
For a change, this glow has been one of happiness rather than the redness of embarrassment after yet another poor display like too many were last season. This upturn in fortunes, with being linked to a name such as Bielsa, is very welcome indeed.
Last season saw the Whites go through Thomas Christiansen and Paul Heckingbotton, both paying with their jobs due to an underperforming Leeds United. United fans are excited, hoping that former Argentina and Chile manager Bielsa is the man to propel their side back to the Premier League.
Signs are said to be looking encouraging with a financial package said to be agreed between the two parties, and with United’s squad being readied to come back from their summer break a week earlier than usual.
Should the plan to land #1 target Bielsa fall through, United have a Plan B, a phrase oft not thought of at Elland Road at times. The man being looked at in terms of a ‘fall-back option’ is Argentinian Matias Almeyda who played under Bielsa for Argentina.
44-year-old Almeyda started off his playing career at River Plate in his native Argentina, before a 1996/97 move to Sevilla. He featured mainly in Italy’s Serie A competition for Lazio, Parma and Inter Milan – who paid £20million for his signature. He also saw action for Brescia, Quilmes, FK Lyn, CA Fenix before a 2009 transfer back to where it all began, River Plate – finally retiring in 2011.
On the managerial front he has had the top job at River Plate (40 games/1.65 points-per-game), CA Banfield (40 games/1.38 points-per-game) and most recently a three-year spell in charge of Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara (133 games/1.59 points-per-game). It was a three-year spell that ended last month, an unhappy Almeyda saying he wasn’t satisfied with the pre-season plans being tendered by the club.
Hay points out in ending his article that “with Almeyda unattached” Leeds feel that they “could move more rapidly on that appointment” should Bielsa back out and force the club to look elsewhere.