Andrea Radrizzani on Marcelo Bielsa succession planning and Leeds United's solid foundations

The Whites owner believes the culture at Elland Road has changed.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 1:00 pm

Andrea Radrizzani believes that Leeds United have laid solid foundations for whatever the future brings following the club’s return to the Premier League.

United’s Italian owner has overseen a change in fortunes during his time in charge of the Elland Road outfit after appointing head coach Marcelo Bielsa over two years ago.

The Argentine – who sent shockwaves around the world of football by taking up his post in LS11 – guided Leeds to the Championship title last month and upon promotion helped end a 16-year exile from the top flight.

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Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani. (Jonathan Gawthorpe)

Bielsa has all but committed to a third season in West Yorkshire and will lead the club’s first assault on the Premier League since 2004.

The 65-year-old, though, operates on a yearly contract and has outlasted all of his other recent jobs in Europe already having found a home from home.

Succession planning is well underway for life post-Bielsa at Leeds but Radrizzani is not quite willing to let the man who masterminded United’s return to England’s elite leave just yet.

“We have achieved something important, that I wanted – that was to change the culture of this club,” the Whites owner told the Associated Press.

“Now to continue in the future, even without Marcelo, will be much easier than what we’ve done before because we need to identify, and we have already in mind, coaches. Not that we are interested now in them.

“But we have identified coaches that represent the same methodology of work or culture, and it’s easier to continue and keep the legacy with what we have built. It was much more difficult to change from the past.”

Negotiations with Bielsa have been prolonged this summer with the head coach often looking for certain commitments from his employers.

Leeds chief Angus Kinnear admitted this week that all aspects of a new deal for him to remain in his role were complete barring a signature on the final paperwork.

“The challenge with Marcelo as we had last season is he is totally fixated on the preparations for the season ahead,” Kinnear revealed. “He’s in the training ground every day, he is working with the team, he’s doing his analytics and I just need to find the appropriate window to get the paper in front of him and for him to sign it but we don’t foresee any challenges.”

Radrizzani has also reiterated his belief that it is the best working practice for all parties involved to evaluate the working relationship at the conclusion of each season.

“We like to take it one year at a time,” Radrizzani continued.

“He is 65 years old, he is from Argentina, he is far away. His wife is often in Argentina, his family too. So we like to take it like this, one year at a time and continue this way. And so far it’s working well.

“He is a very details man, professional, hard worker. He cares about his job a lot. He is very meticulous and I think we have a good respect between each other.

“He is very meticulous, but I always try to advise him to relax because he brings a lot of stress in his daily life and I think stress is never positive.

“I was really surprised... in a conversation with him about (how) we pay attention to this concept.

“To differentiate the positive pressure – that is very important and is the drive to success – from negative stress and pressure that could be really a big enemy.

“I’m learning about football more with him.”