Exclusive: Leeds United not looking at Karanka to replace Monk

Aitor KarankaAitor Karanka
Aitor Karanka
AITOR KARANKA is NOT currently being considered for the vacant managerial position at Leeds United, despite having been hammered into odds-on favouritism to succeed Garry Monk.

Leeds have been looking for a new boss since last Thursday after Monk shocked the club by resigning as head coach, just two days after new chairman Andrea Radrizzani had assumed full control of the club.

With United known to be keen to recruit Middlesbrough’s former head of recruitment Victor Orta as director of football, Karanka was immediately made favourite with his odds plummeting once Orta was appointed on Tuesday afternoon.

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Karanka and Orta worked together for over a year at the Riverside, enjoying promotion from the Championship in May 2016.

But the YEP understands that Karanka is not currently being considered for the Leeds job and that Simon Grayson and Michael Laudrup are another two managers not currently being considered.

United are keeping their cards close to their chest as to who is being considered but former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has been a strong second favourite to Karanka in the betting.

Ranieri is out of work having been sacked by Leicester City in February, just nine after months after guiding the club to a spectacular Premier League title win the previous May.

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Ranieri’s odds tumbled over the weekend, despite the out-of-work Italian admitting he knew nothing about United’s interest on Friday of last week.

“I don’t know anything about this Leeds story,” Ranieri told Training Ground Guru.

“I haven’t spoken to them.”

When asked if he would be interested in the Leeds job, Ranieri said: “I prefer not to speculate.”

A host of other names have been linked with the Whites post but former Leeds boss Grayson and ex-Swansea City manager Laudrup are another two names that the YEP understands are not currently being considered.

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Laudrup became a new name to enter the betting to take the Elland Road hotseat earlier on this week but the YEP understands that the 52-year-old was not a manager being targeted by the Whites.

Laudrup, who is currently in charge of Qatar Stars League club Al Rayyan, was nonetheless asked about the Leeds job by Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet and insisted he was happy to stay where he was.

“The season has ended in various leagues, so there are now plenty of (loose) rumours for both players and coaches,” said Laudrup.

“I have another year’s contract in Al Rayyan, and as I continue to thrive, I will complete it.”

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But the YEP understands that Laudrup was not currently being considered for the post in any case.

Gus Poyet, Nigel Pearson and Pep Clotet - Monk’s former assistant manager - were sharing third favouritism for the post on Thursday night, closely followed by Alan Pardew and Slavisa Jokanovic.

There was also a Friday market move for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Monk quit his position last Thursday afternoon but failed to give clear reasons for his departure.

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The 39-year-old said that he was unable to agree a suitable way to move forward with new Whites owner Radrizzani who had only bought out previous co-owner Massimo Cellino two days earlier.

Radrizzani was intent on offering Monk a new three-year deal and admitted he was “shocked” by the head coach’s departure.

Monk’s one year deal was set to expire this summer but Radrizzani had hoped to activate a one-year extension to Monk’s contract before later offering the former Swansea City boss a new deal.

Monk is now being strongly linked with the vacant managerial position at Middlesbrough with reports suggesting that the former Swansea boss was to be interviewed for the position this week along with former Leicester boss Pearson.