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Leeds have drawn up a shortlist of three managers to replace Marcelo Bielsa this summer, if the Argentine chooses to leave. Ernesto Valverde is one of those – a man Lionel Messi raved about back in 2019.
Bielsa is out of contract at the end of the season, but has always worked on a 12-month rolling contract ever since joining Leeds in 2018. Once again, there are doubts surrounding his future – perhaps more so than before.
Indeed, Bielsa has already spent more time at Leeds – and managed more games, than any other club in his impressive managerial career. So, this summer might be the time that the Argentine decides to depart.
The Telegraph report that ex-Barcelona and Bilbao gaffer Valverde is a name being considered – as is Carlos Corberan, Jesse Marsch and Diego Martinez. Messi is a big fan of Valverde, praising him in 2019.
As quoted by Give Me Sport after a 4-1 win over Betis, Messi said: “We were really well organised. Valverde read things well. Tactically it was perfect. Sometimes you have to adapt to the opposition.”
If Bielsa does go, it will be a sad day for Leeds fans everywhere. Bielsa is spoken about in the same sentence as Don Revie at Leeds, or even Howard Wilkinson. The Argentine has produced miracles at Elland Road.
He has turned a 13th-placed Championship side into a team that finished ninth in the Premier League last season – with much of the same squad. If he is to go, Leeds will mourn his exit – but Valverde is the next best thing.
Indeed, Valverde starred as his replacement at Bilbao – where he is also considered iconic. At Barca, he won two La Liga titles. Valverde is the man to appoint if Bielsa does end up leaving Leeds in the summer.
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