A DEFIANT Andrea Radrizzani vowed to move on with “no regrets” after Garry Monk dramatically quit his job as Leeds United head coach and left Radrizzani looking for a new first-team boss just two days into his reign as owner.
Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka shot to the top of the betting for the Elland Road vacancy last night as Leeds digested Monk’s shock decision to walk out after 12 months in charge.
Monk, who is in contention to become Middlesbrough’s next boss, submitted his resignation yesterday, reacting to a plan by Radrizzani to extend his contract until the end of next season.
Radrizzani, who has been in full control of Leeds for less than 72 hours since buying out Massimo Cellino on Tuesday, was preparing to take up an option to retain Monk for a second year having seen him guide the club to seventh place in the Championship in his first season as head coach.
The pair held two separate meetings in the days before Monk’s resignation and Radrizzani told the YEP on Wednesday that he planned to activate a 12-month extension of Monk’s deal today with a view to discussions about a longer contract.
Monk, however, is said to have been unhappy with the short renewal offered by that option and sceptical about Radrizzani’s willingness to give him greater security.
In a statement Monk defended his decision to resign, saying: “It is with huge disappointment that my time at Leeds United has come to an end.
“My intention was always to remain at Leeds and I saw myself at this fantastic club for many years to come.
“However, ultimately no agreement could be reached.
“After discussions with the new owner we have unfortunately been unable to agree a suitable way for us to all move forward together.”
An earlier statement from Leeds said former Swansea City boss Monk tabled his resignation following a request from his agent “that the option was not exercised”.
Radrizzani took to Twitter to deny that he had been unwilling to discuss a long-term contract with Monk, saying: “We were keen to do (a) three-year deal. We never receive any request from him and his agent. No regrets, we did our best.”
Monk is now among the candidates being considered for the vacant job at Middlesbrough, a post which Karanka was sacked from in March. Monk is also on the radar of Crystal Palace who are managerless after the resignation of Sam Allardyce earlier this week.
Karanka, meanwhile, is the early favourite to replace Monk at Leeds with Radrizzani set to appoint a close associate of the Spaniard’s, Victor Orta, to the role of technical director at Elland Road.
Orta became Boro’s chief scout in December 2015, a move instigated specifically by Karanka. Boro agreed a deal to sever Orta’s contract on Wednesday, 24 hours before Monk resigned as United head coach. Orta is likely to arrive at Elland Road next week.
Karanka led Boro to the Championship play-off final in 2015 and automatic promotion in 2016 but left The Riverside two months ago with the club headed for relegation from the Premier League.
Leeds described themselves as “shocked and disappointed” by Monk’s decision to quit three weeks on from the end of the season.
A club statement read: “Andrea made it clear to the media (on Wednesday) that his intention was to exercise the club’s option to extend the manager’s contract for another 12 months and immediately begin negotiations for a longer-term deal.
“Mr Radrizzani has met with Garry twice since taking over at Elland Road earlier this week and during the second meeting it became clear that Garry was considering life beyond Leeds United as at no time did Garry wish to discuss terms for a longer contract. Following that meeting Garry’s agent requested that the option was not exercised.
“Whilst we are deeply saddened by Garry’s decision, there is no individual bigger than our club and we will now begin a process to identify and appoint a new head coach to take the club to the next level.
“We thank Garry for his contribution during his time at Leeds United. We are disappointed that we could not continue on this journey together.”
Monk’s reign at Leeds lasted for 53 games, ending in a 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic on May 7.
Leeds finished this season with 75 points but finished a place below the Championship play-offs after taking one win from their final eight matches.