Despite the Furore, Marcelo Bielsa Remains Odds-On to be Leeds’ new Boss – by Rob Atkinson

Bielsa Bruce

Bielsa, or Bruce, or A.N.Other? Nobody knows, but the bookies have an idea

There’s a feeding frenzy of speculation surrounding Leeds United right now, with various internet sources pouncing on the fans’ anxiety to fuel debate as to whether the Whites will end up with a former Argentinian coach, or a former Man U centre half. Those two possibilities represent just about as polarised a choice of footballing philosophies as you could imagine, with Marcelo Bielsa favouring a high pressing game with a fluid attacking formation, whilst Steve Bruce would probably just let the players get on with it as, keenly aware of his popularity level at Elland Road, he sits in the dugout with a tin hat on.

It’s all speculation, simply because there is very, very little hard information out there. The sensible fan will resign him or herself to sitting back and waiting for something solid to transpire – but they might also take a passing glance at those bookies’ odds, which still have Bielsa as a strong odds-on favourite, despite talk of “drastic changes” in those odds. Odds-on in a field of several is powerful medicine; it does not indicate to the thinking fan that anything at all drastic has taken place. What is doubtless going on will be a lot of hard and urgent talking and, for the moment at least, that talking is most likely between United and Bielsa. Rumours that he is analysing videos of Leeds games from last season might incline us to send the poor chap some Paracetamol, but they do not, of themselves, make any particular outcome more likely.

All that’s actually happened in the betting market is that Bruce’s odds are shortened from 20-1 to 5-1, whilst Bielsa has seen his heavy odds-on price of 1-5 go out slightly to 4-9. That’s significant movement, particularly on the Bruce side – but then again, markets react to speculation, and his name has been bruited about a lot this past 24 hours. Overall, though, Bielsa remains a hot favourite – which is the most definite thing anyone can currently say.

For the record, my preference would be for Bielsa, based simply on the brand of football we might see. I’d also be extremely open to the possibility (if it exists) of Claudio Ranieri, who still rides fairly high in the odds.

It’s been a frustrating few days, and that might carry on a while yet. But all the indications remain positive that we’re still in for a very exciting summer.

19 responses to “Despite the Furore, Marcelo Bielsa Remains Odds-On to be Leeds’ new Boss – by Rob Atkinson

  1. My issue with Bruce, irrespective of who he used to play for, is that under him, Villa gambled all to the tune of £88 million and still didn’t go up. They now seem set fair for the bleak future that devoured us , some 15 plus years ago, moreover, Mr. Bruce has a track record of leaving very shortly after his teams have gone up, not an appointment for me.


  2. Brad Twersky

    Rob…just curious…But if Bielsa is as hotheaded and as no-nonsense as everybody writes about…why would we want him here? My point has always been that we are so quick to pull the trigger on managers that you have to wonder what would happen four months in to a reign here if he was to scream (or say something perceived to be wrong) at an impressionable 19 or 20 year old.


  3. gerryCwmbran

    For ORTA to even think about Steve Bruce as Leeds manager just emphasises what an absolute useless w*nker he is in the job that he does!
    …That appointment would be at least as popular as the f**ked up badge campaign!
    We need somebody at the top who knows and respects the HISTORY of our club!


  4. Surely Bielsa would only come if the transfer budget he requires is agreed, now that will be interesting!


  5. Life is LUFC

    I have a feeling you are going to make that 1K before a manager is finally chosen:-)


  6. Reality Cheque

    I hope that we succeed in getting our “first choice” because of his reputation amongst top coaches and players who have been coached by him which will take the appeal of joining Leeds United, on loan or permanent to a whole new level.

    Personally, I would also like our U23’s coach to get some well earned reward by being promoted to working with the first team squad as one of our new head coach’s team. He has demonstrated the ability to turn a crowd of “strangers” thrown together by the scattergun recruitment approach of Victor Orta, (the majority of whom were from foreign shores and had to come to terms with adapting to a new country, climate, language and culture), into a team of winners within 6 months. He will obviously know the strengths, weaknesses and potential of every one of the players trying to earn a first team debut and therefore be the perfect asset for our new head coach. It would represent the best conduit possible for these guys to break into the first team if they are good enough and both parties speak Spanish so nothing will be lost in translation.


  7. NickB(50yrsLU)

    I’m sure others will have seen it by now, that the Mirror says a deal has been agreed with Bielsa, but that they are still talking because he wants guarantees over the budget. My huge concern is that he does to us what he did to Marseille and storms out after seven months. That would mean another wasted year, because any replacement would inherit the problems Heckingbottom had to face, of player despondency. It’s very risky, and I think Ranieri is better at getting on with people, and is likewise a top rank manager, and more proven at club level.


  8. Patrick hogan

    Is it my imagination or have you been relatively quiet for a while Rob? And then suddenly my inbox overfloweth. Not that I am complaining. I reckon the missus has gone on holiday. P.S. I hope you haven’t abandoned the book yet. If not put me down for a copy when it’s done.


  9. Beilsa to Bruce? It’s like jumping out of a Ferrari into a Lada. The only consolation I can squeeze out of this is that nothing can be as bad as last season. I just cannot see our No 1 choice coming Rob. It’s taking too long, what’s the stumbling block? Is it because his sidekicks won’t entertain coming to Leeds?
    Surely RADZ is well aware of the feeling around the fans and won’t go for Bruce. It’s unbearable..


  10. It’s the anticipation and frequent disappointments of the past that is making this wait seem like an eternity Rob.
    However a guy like Beilsa is clearly not going to rush into anything and as well as his own hefty remuneration I’m not the least bit surprised he’s assessing the squad and guarantees on what transfer kitty will be available to him. I’m sure he will also lay down the law on how big a part Orta will play in transfers and who has the final say!
    The really exciting bit to me is the brand of attacking football we could expect to see which is very likely to see Elland Road full and brimming with the kind of fantastic atmosphere we saw for the England game.
    As for Bruce I don’t even want to think about him as I felt his tactics at Villa were very safety first and when I saw them at ER just before Christmas had we got the 2nd goal before half time I think it would have been game over. There’s also his link with the Scummers which would not cut him any slack unless we made a very positive start!


  11. I think if we land Bielsa there’s also a very good chance of him having the charisma and reputation to allow us to punch above our weight in the transfer market. I’m sure he will also the reputation to land some top loan players from the likes of Man City & Spurs who’s managers hold him in such high esteem.
    Fingers crossed Andrea can nail this deal as we need a head coach in place quickly to ensure we don’t get left behind in the summer window and pre season like last summer with TC


  12. Should the deal for Marcelo not happen lets not be too hasty in condemning Steve Bruce. After all redemption is at hand for those who have sinned previously. Just ask Johnny Giles and Gordon Strachan. Here endeth the parable.


  13. I just cannot bear all this anticipation. Bielsa appointment would be very exciting. Ranieri very popular and possibly more stable. Bruce would be dull,dull,dull. The fact that we are even attempting these approaches is in itself promising and a definite sign of increasing ambition. Hopefully a near full ER for the Ingerland game may also have inched our profile up a notch or two. MOT as always.


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