EXCLUSIVE: Leeds United - Whites set to name ex-APOEL boss as new manager

Thomas Christansen, who is set to become Leeds United's new manager
Thomas Christansen, who is set to become Leeds United's new manager
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Leeds United are closing in on the appointment of former APOEL boss Thomas Christiansen as their new manager.

United are set to finalise a deal with Christiansen in the next 24 hours, securing their replacement for Garry Monk after a three-week search.

Christiansen was approached for talks by United owner Andrea Radrizzani after taking APOEL to the last 16 of the Europa League this season.

The 44-year-old, whose playing career started at Barcelona, parted company with APOEL on the same day that Monk resigned as Leeds head coach.

APOEL chose not to renew Christiansen’s 12-month contract despite him taking the Cypriot club into the Europa League’s knockout stages and winning Cyprus’ first division title.

His side topped their Europa League group ahead of Olympiakos and reached the last 16 for the first time after beating Athletic Bilbao over two legs, eventually losing to Anderlecht.

APOEL released him in the wake of losing to Apollon Limassol in the national cup final.

Christiansen’s previous management job was a two-year stint at another Cypriot club, AEK Larnaca, between 2014 and 2016 but Radrizzani moved to name him as Monk’s successor after interviewing Christiansen in Madrid this week.

Leeds are now in the process of arranging the terms of his contract with a view to confirming Christiansen’s arrival before the weekend.

United have been without a first-team boss since Monk left from his post suddenly on May 25, two days after Radrizzani completed his takeover of United.

Radrizzani identified Huddersfield Town’s David Wagner and Reading’s Jaap Stam as candidates for the job but Huddersfield’s promotion to the Premier League ruled Wagner out of the running and Stam is expected to extend his contract at Reading in the coming weeks.

Leeds also made contact with Victor Sanchez, who left Real Betis recently, but sources at Elland Road say Christiansen was part of Radrizzani’s initial list of options.

Radrizzani has revised the structure of Leeds’ management team by recruiting ex-Middlesbrough head of recruitment Victor Orta as director of football and recruiting former Real Madrid employee Ivan Bravo as a board member and advisor.

Leeds are now poised to add Christiansen to that structure, appointing him ahead of the squad’s planned return for pre-season tests next Friday.

Christiansen - Denmark-born but capped by Spain twice in 1993 - enjoyed a lengthy career as a striker, starting out at Barcelona before moving to Villarreal, Racing Santander and Hannover.

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