Leeds United legend Marcelo Bielsa to Everton is poetry but unlikely for so many reasons

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There is at least one way in which ex-Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa replacing Frank Lampard would be poetic, but it can't happen, can it?

For so many reasons, it's difficult if not impossible to envisage Bielsa crouching in the technical area at Goodison, sporting Toffees training gear.

It would mean he had actively pursued a course of action that drew a battle line between a new employer and the club he fell in love with during three and a half incredible years. It would mean he had accepted a job that, if done successfully, might give him a triumph that could, quite feasibly, put Leeds and one of his crowning glories in jeopardy. That promotion meant the world to Bielsa, so the mere idea of keeping Everton up at the potential cost of the Whites' Premier League status would surely stick in his craw.

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Leeds, of course, could not cry loyalty when it was the club, not Bielsa, who brought the relationship to an end, yet it's still so difficult to imagine him happily managing against them in a relegation battle, no matter how he felt or feels about his sacking. And the sight of him pacing out of the Elland Road tunnel and past the home dugout is all but unthinkable in any scenario other than a glamorous friendly or European tie with some foreign opposition.

It is his right, of course, to seek new employment and it has been almost a year now. The phrase 'you're quickly forgotten in football' hardly applies here yet even one as famed and feted as Bielsa might find that the longer his unemployment lasts the trickier it becomes to return to top level club football.

But Everton, really? There's so much more besides Leeds United to consider here, of course. Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao, Marseille, Lazio, Lille and Leeds was a summer appointment. He accepted jobs that appealed, at times that suited, in order to give himself and the club breathing space to put the project together properly.

Everton, mid-season, does not a proper project make. The seriousness of a project appeared to matter to Bielsa and although Leeds were a mess for years, they were on a solid and stable footing by the time he was pursued. From afar, the Toffees look in real trouble on and off the pitch and the lack of harmony between the decision makers and the fans, not to mention the iffy recruitment and spending splurges, don't particularly line up with what one would imagine a 'serious project' looks like to Bielsa.

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Yes, there's history and culture and a fanbase who, if correctly harnessed, could play a huge part in a Goodison renaissance. Yes, there’s romance in the idea of taking a city’s little brother and punching upward. It’s a rescue job. A transformation is needed. These are things that Bielsa might look for, but is there the willingness to give Bielsa what he would want and the competency to deliver it?

POETIC MOVE? Marcelo Bielsa is said to be under consideration at Everton almost a year after being sacked by Leeds United. Bielsa would be replacing his old nemisis Frank Lampard. Pic: GettyPOETIC MOVE? Marcelo Bielsa is said to be under consideration at Everton almost a year after being sacked by Leeds United. Bielsa would be replacing his old nemisis Frank Lampard. Pic: Getty
POETIC MOVE? Marcelo Bielsa is said to be under consideration at Everton almost a year after being sacked by Leeds United. Bielsa would be replacing his old nemisis Frank Lampard. Pic: Getty

What clubs in mid-season strife often seem to opt for is what they perceive to be a safe pair of hands and while only a fool would write off Bielsa's ability to turn a team around in quick order given his lightning-quick transformation of midtable Leeds, his CV contains enough hastily aborted projects to at least raise a question mark. Everton simply cannot afford to get this wrong, not with so much invested in the new stadium and so much rich Premier League history at stake.

Being linked to Bielsa is one thing, and a good thing. It's no coincidence that governing bodies and club presidents like his name floating around when there's a vacancy because it draws worldwide interest and suggests ambition. He remains a big name, a mythical one almost. You're seriously going after Bielsa? You must be serious.

Getting Bielsa, as the last year has proven, is another matter entirely. It's never completely clear how close he is to these jobs he's said to be in for - other than the attempted return to Athletic Bilbao - but the fact is that none have got him and he has got none.

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Mexico, according to ESPN, is the latest nation to give the 67-year-old their consideration and when he left Leeds it did feel as if a job in international football would be a good next step. He's had success on the world stage before, after all. And if that is the case and he's giving El Tri and all its playing resources the due diligence treatment, would he cast that opportunity and preparation aside to watch hundreds of hours of Lampard-ball?

This brings us back to poetry. Replacing the man who took such umbrage over the spying incident, the man who whether he admits it or not entered wholly into a rivalry with Leeds after that, the man who beat him in the Championship play-offs but did not earn promotion like he did, would be quite the story. Bielsa always came across so proper when discussing his managerial peers but there was, once or twice, an inkling of devilment in his eyes and words. Maybe the idea of fixing a mess that is at least partly the responsibility of Lampard would tickle Bielsa's fancy.

For Leeds fans though, this is one job they hope and pray he avoids. Taking it and keeping them up would be bad enough. Taking it and suffering the indignity of relegation would be a fate no Whites supporter would wish upon him. The relationship they have with Bielsa is still strong and still special. It's not so long since he sat down with some of their number in Norway and became overwhelmed by emotion as he spoke of his time at Leeds. Their thinking would almost certainly be in his, if he was to contemplate this job.

Bookies don't often get it wrong and his name is on their list for a reason. Don't doubt that his name will have been spoken about at Everton. Just ask yourself this - would he? Would he really? It would be poetic, in one sense, but it's not something Leeds fans ever want to hear.