Leeds United confident of retaining Marcelo Bielsa next season, regardless of promotion

Leeds United head coach Marcelo BielsaLeeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa
Leeds United are confident of retaining Marcelo Bielsa as head coach next season regardless of whether the club win promotion from the Championship.

The board at Elland Road intend to activate an option to extend Bielsa’s contract for a second year and hope the Argentinian would be willing to take on another year in the Championship if Leeds fail to reach the Premier League.

Bielsa is automatically committed to remaining for another season should United secure promotion but Leeds are headed for the play-offs and his future will be open to question if the club are faced with a 16th successive campaign in the EFL.

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The former Argentina and Chile coach declined to discuss his position at his weekly press conference on Friday, saying a decision on whether he would remain in charge was “not up to me.”

“It’s not up to me and I don’t have any more response to that,” Bielsa said. “It’s not a decision we have to take now and it’s not the right time to give my opinion.”

Leeds, however, will push to keep Bielsa on board and are understood to have discussed further improvements to their Thorp Arch training ground with him.

Bielsa asked for changes to the complex when he came to England last summer and the club have so far spent in excess of £600,000 altering the facility. The 63-year-old wants further upgrades and has already put his ideas to the club’s board and owner, Andrea Radrizzani.

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United are in the process of drawing up separate plans for next season dependent on how this term ends, both of which involve Bielsa as head coach. The 63-year-old has worked closely with director of football Victor Orta - the man who recommended him to Radrizzani - since his appointment and has impressed the club with his impact.

Despite automatic promotion slipping away after two defeats over the Easter weekend, Leeds’ points tally of 82 is their best in the Championship since 1990 and Leeds are anxious for continuity after a succession of managerial changes over the years.

Bielsa would be the first coach to start two seasons in a row at Elland Road since Simon Grayson in 2012.

His appointment came at a cost of £3m in salaries paid to him and his backroom staff but Leeds are ready to meet that outlay again after witnessing Bielsa’s work over the past 12 months.