What the Heck? Marcelo Bielsa favourite for newly vacant Leeds job TSS June 2, 2018 Leeds United 10 Comments Paul Heckingbottom was dismissed as Leeds United manager on Friday after failing to make any kind of positive impact in his four months in charge. While the players have always spoken positively about Heckingbottom as a coach, their fondness for the former Barnsley coach never translated to results on the pitch and in football, that’s the only thing that matters. Truth be told, Heckingbottom was an odd choice to begin with. After parting ways with Thomas Christiansen, who’d suffered a difficult run of results – heavily contributed to by a bout of injuries and suspensions – Leeds turned to the manager with the poorest record in the league to salvage something from a season that had started extremely well. His arrival was a muted one, met by a mixed reaction from Leeds supporters who’d hoped for someone with a higher profile. That Heckingbottom had no impact on Leeds’ form didn’t really surprise, he’d always felt like an odd punt – and an expensive one, with Leeds forced to buy out his Barnsley contract at a cost of £500k. His replacement hasn’t yet been confirmed, but an astonishing name has emerged as the frontrunner. The agent of Marcelo Bielsa, who Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino describe as the “best coach in the world” has confirmed the Argentinian is in talks with the club. Bielsa has managed the Argentinian and Chilean national sides, along with Athletic Bilbao, Marseille and most recently, Lille. He’s also managed at top flight in his home land, winning the first division 3 times. At Bilbao, Bielsa’s side finished runners up in the Copa Del Rey and Europa League, while at international level, Bielsa won Olympic Gold with Argentina. ‘The Madman’ as he’s known in his homeland is famed for his unorthodox formations and for being an obsessive student of the game. Bielsa likes to operate a 3-3-1-3 formation, playing a similarly high-pressing, high-tempo style to what Klopp has introduced at Anfield. Bielsa watches hours of video on his team and opposition and prepares lengthy videos for his players to study their own game and that of the opposition. That won’t be the only adjustment for the Leeds United squad though, Bielsa has also been known to train the squad separately, at different times and in smaller groups based on field positions. Fernando Llorente, who played under Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao described the experience as initially annoying, with the Madman’s “persistence” understandably tiring, but quickly got on-board with his methods, describing him as “a genius”. Quite how Bielsa’s methods and experience will translate to the English Championship is difficult to predict, but at a club prone to wild punts when appointing a manager, Bielsa is as high-profile as they’re ever likely to come and one I’m happy to get onboard with.