Leeds United were working to tie up the final details of Marcelo Bielsa’s contract last night with the Argentinian on the brink of taking the head coach’s job at Elland Road.
Leeds and Bielsa are in the last throes of discussions over his mooted appointment and look increasingly likely to shake hands on a deal which would make Bielsa the highest-paid boss in the Yorkshire club’s history.
The 62-year-old spent the weekend assessing United’s offer to him and further talks over the past 48 hours have pushed Leeds and Bielsa to the verge of an agreement.
The former Argentina and Chile manager - a maverick but highly-respected coach whose previous posts have included Atletico Bilbao, Marseille and Lille - has been open to the idea of managing in the Championship ever since Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani sent officials to speak with him in South America last month.
Both he and United want to finalise an appointment at the earliest opportunity, with Bielsa insistent that the club’s players should make an early return to training next week, and a salary package is already in place.
Bielsa, however, had been seeking assurances over other aspects of his role and the extent to which he will be free to implement his philosophy and ideas but sources in South American told to the YEP last night that talks were in the “final mile” and on course for a successful conclusion.
Leeds have made no comment about the vacancy at Elland Road since sacking former head coach Paul Heckingbottom on June 1, a dismissal which came after a short 16-game reign.
United said they wanted Heckingbottom’s replacement to be “a head coach with more experience who can help us reach the goals we have talked about” having failed to reach the Championship play-offs under the management of Heckingbottom or his predecessor, Thomas Christiansen.