Leeds United’s squad will return for pre-season training on June 25 as first planned with the pending appointment of Marcelo Bielsa preventing an earlier start date.
The club’s players were told last week to prepare to report back to Thorp Arch seven days early on June 18 after Bielsa asked Leeds to bring forward their schedule but the time taken to finalise his arrival in England led United to revert to their original plan this afternoon.
Bielsa is on the brink of becoming Leeds’ new head coach after a week-and-a-half of intense talks but the Argentinian is yet to fly to Europe from South America and would need a work permit before formally taking charge of the Elland Road side.
A number of the backroom appointments planned by Bielsa are also dependent on securing UK visas and Leeds require the endorsement of the Football Association as part of their application to the Home Office.
Leeds and Bielsa in 'final mile' of talks with Argentinian on the brink of accepting Elland Road job
United arranged at the end of this season for their first-team players to return to Thorp Arch on June 25, six weeks before the opening weekend of the new Championship term.
Bielsa, however, wanted the club’s hierarchy to recall them on June 18 - this Monday coming - if his appointment went ahead. The squad were told by director of football Victor Orta to be ready to be present on that date as negotiations with Bielsa’s representatives continued last Friday.
Leeds will now stick to their original timetable but remain confident that Bielsa will be in place well in advance of the first day of training.
Bringing in new boss Bielsa should get the summer signings ball rolling
United and Bielsa are in the final throes of arranging a contract which would make the former Marseille, Athletic Bilbao and Lille coach the highest paid boss in their history and secure a replacement for Paul Heckingbottom who was sacked on June 1 after 16 games in charge.
While the 62-year-old’s arrival is still to be confirmed, Bielsa has spent time analysing the squad at Elland Road, assessing possible transfers and reviewing the club’s Championship fixtures this season. He has also pieced together a coaching team in anticipation of taking the job.