Former Leeds United boss could be set for La Liga return after ‘offer’

A former Leeds United boss could be set to return to management months after leaving his Elland Road post.
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Former Leeds United boss Javi Gracia could find himself a new job sooner rather than later.

Gracia spent two-and-a-half disappointing months in charge of the Whites last season before he was sacked and replaced with Sam Allardyce in a desperate attempt to remain in the Premier League. The Spaniard oversaw a run of four losses in five games before his departure, but he was given little time to turn things around after a disappointing first two thirds of the season under Jesse Marsch.

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Gracia attempted to bring in a very different style from that of his predecessor, and it just didn’t work.

But he could now be set to return to management due to a sacking at one of his former clubs, Villarreal. Gracia represented the Yellow Submarine as a player, and was also a full-time manager in their youth side in his early days, later returning for a year in charge of their B team.

The position has opened up at Villarreal after they sacked Quique Setién on Tuesday on the back of three defeats from their first four games of the season.

The Yellow Submarine made a number of key sales during the summer, selling Pau Torres, Niclolas Jackson and Samu Chukwueze, and while they made some shrewd additions with the likes of Alexander Sorloth, Santi Comesana and Ben Brereton-Diaz, they did not manage to replace the players who left sufficiently.

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That has shown early in the season, and it is Setién who has paid the price less than a year after replacing Unai Emery. Setién guided Villarreal to a fifth-place finish last season, but he got off to a poor start that saw the Yellow Submarine suffer an early exit from the Europa Conference League.

On the back of the Setién decision, Gracia is understood to be on the long list of candidates for the role, though not one of the top three, with former Wolves boss Julen Loptegui leading the way, along with José Rojo Pacheta and Marcelo Gallardo. Local paper EPM report that Gracia has been in contact with Villarreal to offer himself as an option. The Yellow Submarine now have the international break to make their decision, but they won’t want to hang around, needing to hit the ground running in both La Liga and the Europa League when they return.