Forget your Patrick Bamfords, your Kiko Casillas and your Barry Douglases, forget any of the signed players for Leeds United – simply forget them. The biggest signing for the Whites this season has been Marcelo Bielsa.
The evidence is plain and simple and is there right in front of the faces of anyone who doubts the Argentine’s influence. He’s come in to Leeds United, instilled a whole ethos and brand of football and turned a turgid side that finished 13th last season into a side challenging for Premier League promotion.
What the coaching legend that Bielsa is has done to Leeds United is nothing if not a hair’s width short of remarkable. You can ramp this up a notch when you consider that this has been done in less than a season. Poised as they are now for promotion in their centenary year, Leeds United fans are hoping that this is the season that they return to the promised land.
The big question is thus: what will become of Marcelo Bielsa? Much hypothesising has been done around Bielsa and whether he will be staying at Elland Road, or like the Littlest Hobo whether ‘he’ll just keep moving on’. The situation has become a little clearer today after words issued by his brother Rafael in speaking to Argentinian media source La Capital.
In a lengthy interview, Rafael Bielsa says something that will gladden the hearts of all Leeds United fans. When asked what was most probable between Marcelo Bielsa returning to Argentina to lead Newells Old Boys next season or whether Maria Eugenia will be governor of Santa Fé, Rafael Bielsa said that Marcelo’s contract points to him staying at Elland Road.
“Marcelo cannot go back to Newell because he has a contractual problem. I made him the contract. If they don’t go up to the Premier League, Leeds has the option to keep it.” Rafael Bielsa – La Capital
The option of extending Bielsa’s contract by a further season, should disaster beset Leeds’ season end, will be welcome news for worried fans. Rafael Bielsa then adds that should Leeds gain promotion, that option becomes an obligation that Leeds United must exercise.
It’s obviously sparking off conversations amongst Leeds United fans, conversations such as the one leading to this reply by Phil Hay.
you know Bielsa though. He’d only stay if he wanted to if Leeds didn’t go up. You couldn’t force someone like him to stick around.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 14, 2019
Of course, Bielsa walking would be worrying for Leeds United fans. However a certain sense of solace is provided by his brother, who says that it is not in the Bielsa blood to break such agreements.
“The Bielsa family does not break the rules. They are values that are learned as a boy, they are inculcated by your elders, your grandparents and the whole family environment.” Rafael Bielsa – La Capital
Whilst this all exists in the ether of airy words, Rafael Bielsa’s responses do provide a sense of clarity to the stay/go situation of his brother Marcelo at Leeds United.