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More perils await Leeds United with Marcelo Bielsa

Friday 15th June 2018

Leeds United’s utter desperation for a top class manager has driven them off to beguiling Argentine, Marcelo Biesla. Amidst all purported pedigree and influence on the modern game, United will do themselves good by looking elsewhere. Anywhere in fact. That alone can avert impending danger.

The Whites faithful have literally gone high as a kite since Biesla was linked to their darling club. Why shouldn't they? For the first time in a long while, Leeds appears to be doing the right thing. After several laborious years in lower league wilderness, they've finally found a wizened, mythical messiah with repute, capable of delivering the Promised land mandate.

A mass procession of tacticians has faltered in that quest since 2004. Some still revered, though. Kevin Blackwell. Gary McAllister. Neil Warnock. Others, well, don't even exist. Thomas Christiansen. Darko Milanic. Uwe Rosler. As many as 10 pseudomessiahs have desecrated the Elland Road altar in last five years.  

Ambitious owner Andrea Radrizzani has had enough. The Italian businessman will stop at nothing to bring the glory days back to West Yorkshire. To do so, he has adopted Wolves' pretty successful model that landed them in Premier League. Biesla is top of the chain.

Biesla's pragmatic approach seems tailored-made for Leeds. Popular for meticulous, absolutely rigorous methods, he goes as far as adopting video technologies before matches. Doing so, the 62-year-old believes no stone is left unturned which explains the significant emphasis on tactical analytical sessions. He invented the high press model; choking the opposition in their own half. Jurgen Klopp has since refurbished it.  

The maverick Bielsa’s magnificent reputation will only send tremble to Championship rivals. He has some cult following due to profound impact on modern football. Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone, Mauricio Pochettino and Jorge Sampaoli are just a few of his current acolytes. 

Yet, appointing the ex-Chilean coach could allude disaster in waiting as his resume is far too flattering to deceive. Bielsa is gloriously eccentric, pesky and seems to carry trouble everywhere he goes. First, he’d start a fight with the senior squad members, then replace with choice players. His last experiment at Lille with crummy Brazilian mercenaries ricocheted. He was fired midway into last campaign with the club worst than he inherited.

‘El Loco’ unpredictable methods has somewhat transcended into his personal life. He walked away from Marseille after the first game of the season, pulling the same stunt 48 hours into his Lazio reign. Whether off or on the pitch, Bielsa craves the spotlight and gets it regardless. 

On the face of it, Bielsa has never worked in England, never mind the Championship. Not to say he would be overwhelmed by English second-tier rigours. But what if that's ultimately the case. What if he is swallowed by the expectations, media and reality.

After all, the 62-year-old appears to have lost touch with reality. In fairness, he single-handedly revolutionised the game in the 90’s with the gegenpressing brand. He was first to adopt slightly eccentric 3-3-3-1 system too. However, his ideas appear to have caught on. These days, Biesla has become more of an influential figure than the tactical genius he was known to be.

It is true that Leeds fans have been starved of attractive, fulfilling football, but entrusting a divisive 62-year-old could be detrimental.

Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 


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