Leeds United: Cellino continues to court Clarke

Leeds United are continuing to push for talks with Darrell Clarke after lining up the Bristol Rovers manager as Steve Evans' successor.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 5:00 am
Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke (centre) pictured while assistant to then manager John Ward (left).

United have been in negotiations with Bristol Rovers over compensation details and the Elland Road club are expected to bring Clarke to the table by meeting the demands of the newly-promoted League One side. Leeds and Rovers have been haggling over the structure of staggered payments which United will commit to if Clarke agrees to replace Evans as head coach.

Compensation for Clarke is expected to be in the region of £250,000 and United’s sustained approach for the 38-year-old has marked him out as owner Massimo Cellino’s preferred option for the job.

Rovers have attempted to fend Leeds off by offering Clarke, the boss who has led them to promotion from the National League and League Two in the past two seasons, an improved three-year deal at the Memorial Stadium.

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But Clarke is taking time to consider that extension having been informed of United’s bid for him. Cellino is abroad in Italy and said on Tuesday that he had been in touch with at least one alternative candidate.

But staff at Elland Road believe Clarke is firmly at the front of the queue for a job which is still officially held by Evans.

Evans turned up for work as planned yesterday after completing a short holiday, despite some around him advising him to quit his post in the wake of United’s approaches to Clarke and MK Dons boss Karl Robinson.

Robinson and Cellino met for talks in London last week but Robinson had doubts about working for the Italian and Leeds reacted to that meeting by rapidly turning their attention to Clarke.

Cellino’s contact with rival coaches has left little doubt about the Italian’s plan to remove Evans before United’s squad begin pre-season training around the start of July.