Leeds United holding out for Bielsa deal with talks set to extend over the weekend

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Negotiations between Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa are set to extend over the weekend with Leeds holding out for a deal which secures the Argentinian as their new head coach.

United are prepared to wait on the conclusion of discussions with Bielsa despite initially aiming to have a first-team boss in place this week with the club at an advanced stage of negotiations over his contract and demands.

The club have been in active talks with Bielsa since the sacking of Paul Heckingbottom a week ago having sounded him out about the possibility of taking charge at Elland Road prior to Heckingbottom’s dismissal.

Bielsa made it clear to Leeds that he was interested in managing in the Championship, despite his reputation as one of the most innovative and respected coaches in the game.

The 62-year-old is understood to have been analysing United’s current squad with a view to highlighting changes needed before the start of next season and has also spoken about potential signings in the event that he and United shake hands on a deal early next week.

Bielsa would want transfers in place prior to the start of pre-season training on June 25 with United’s coaching and training regime destined for a major overhaul if the former Argentina, Chile and Marseille manager agrees to take charge.

Bielsa is yet to formally accept the post and the YEP understands that he and his representatives will review all aspects of United’s proposal in the next 48 hours before reaching a decision.

His last job - a short-lived reign at Lille in France - was worth around £8m a year in wages but Bielsa is willing to take substantially less to come to England. His arrival, however, would still make him one of the highest-paid coaches in United’s history.

As talks continue, Leeds have maintained an interest in two other alternatives - one foreign coach and one British - to guard against the possibility of Bielsa turning them down. The club wanted Heckingbottom’s replacement in post this week and are short of time with their squad returning for pre-season training on June 25.

Leeds are yet to make a single summer signing and, despite pursuing a number of potential transfers, look unlikely to finalise any until their new head coach is in place.