Like primary school kids trying to earn a life-saving badge, potential managerial candidates for the Elland Road job are quietly treading water. Some are more certain and in the centre of the pool, others a little wary and near to edges, just in case they need to climb out really quickly.
The situation of who will be next in at Leeds United has been ever-changing and definitely not as simple as fans would have wanted. Mind, fans of United will tell you that this is par for the course in LS11.
Journalists were saying that the appointment of Victor Orta would be key, that he and Ivan Bravo would be the selection voices who’d have the task of selecting who would succeed the walk-a-way Garry Monk at Elland Road. That led to bookmakers installing Aitor Karanka as favourite to land the job, his odds dropping as low as 1/4 on at one point.
Then Claudio Ranieri came in, drifted out but is back in against at decent odds of 7/2. Just as Leeds fans thought they might be getting a recent Premier League-winning manager, in stormed Garry Monk’s former assistant Pep Clotet, closing to odds-on favourite at one point before drifting to a current 5/4.
Clotet was odds on last night until a surprise name jumped out of the party box, Juande Ramos, ex of Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. He came literally from nowhere into the low odds before drifting a little to his current 5/1 status.
It really is a bit odd up at Elland Road at the moment, manager hunt wise for a change. It’s left Leeds United fans in that ‘drowning man’ position where they will grasp at any piece of floating wreckage and see it as something of substance. It is this approach that tends to fail, drowning men clinging to the flimsiest of flotsam and seeing it as a Kon Tiki-esque seaworthy vessel.
Enjoying a few days in Italy. pic.twitter.com/6MpPCZhsRt
— Pep Clotet (@pepclotet) June 2, 2017
Then Pep Clotet posts an update as to his travel itinerary, yesterday saying that he’s taking a bit of time off in Italy. Some Leeds United fans have seen this picture, well its caption anyway, as a signal that the Whites will not be selecting a manager with Clotet away from the club. To some of these fans, the delay is a case of simply waiting for Clotet to arrive back on these shores – after all he is still the favourite for the Elland Road hotseat at odds of 5/4.
Then there’s the indication that some have put forward that is two-fold in its nature: Clotet hasn’t changed his Twitter bio that states he is ‘Assistant Manager’ at Leeds and that he’s still at the club, despite his contract likely having finished on June 1.
All this is supposition of course, it’s the sort of circumstantial evidence that Columbo would see through with hardly a ‘one more thing that I’d like to ask you about.’ But it’s definitely out there, and it seems to make more joined up sense that suddenly picking one of the water-treading managerial candidates who are on the fringes and trying to climb out of the pool, Michael Laudrup for instance, and prodding them towards the favourites in the middle of the swarming pool.
As of publishing this article, there is a definite group of four ‘closer’ favourites for the Leeds United job: Pep Clotet (5/4), Claudio Ranieri (7/2), Juande Ramos (5/1) and Aitor Karanka (6/1)