Football: From Camp Nou To Elland Road

Although Leeds United are not currently looking for a new manager at this present moment in time, there is never any harm in succession planning and when Marcelo Bielsa no longer works at Elland Road, the club’s owners will have an important decision to make.

Of course, the important decision could well be whether to keep Bielsa in gainful employment past the end of the season and with the Argentine overseeing more struggles than success in recent times, one wonders if a change of direction will soon be needed.

Especially as naming a new manager is always down to timing and good timing at that and with Ernesto Valverde currently sitting by the phone, the former Barcelona boss may soon get a call from Leeds’ Victor Orta.

With Orta knowing the Spanish market rather well, Valverde will be considered a rather tempting option and one that could largely fill any Bielsa-shaped void that may soon appear in West Yorkshire.

Of course, one must not forget that Leeds are by no means safe when it comes to this season’s relegation battle and at odds of 13/2 with bet365 to return to the EFL Championship, this punt could be considered as something of a mid-term investment.

Then again, if Leeds were to suffer a relegation back to the second tier of English football, then any new manager may have to come elsewhere – if only because they would then become a lesser attractive option to the likes of Valverde.

Which means if the club are genuinely looking for a new manager to start the next season, they will also be asking everything of their current man in charge and if Bielsa can navigate Leeds out of choppy waters, it would be a fitting end to his tenure.

With the 66-year-old also out of contract at the end of this current campaign, an amicable split may be the preferred direction of travel for both parties and if their Premier League status stays intact, that is when discussions with the likes of Valverde can begin.

After battling back from 3-1 down to earn a 3-3 draw away at Aston Villa in midweek, Leeds now finds themselves moving onto Goodison Park on Saturday and with both they and Everton lurking at the wrong end of the table, it is a must-win encounter for both sides.

Which in scenarios such as this, can mean that the two entities cancel each other out and with the draw on Merseyside being priced at 13/5 with Betfair before kickoff, it will be interesting to see if nerves get the better of them both.