Leeds target Carlos Corberan after sacking Jesse Marsch

Carlos Corberan - PA/Martin Rickett
Carlos Corberan - PA/Martin Rickett

West Brom's Carlos Corberán has emerged as a strong contender to take charge of Leeds United after Jesse Marsch was sacked as head coach at Elland Road after just 11 months in charge.

Marsch has become the seventh managerial casualty in the Premier League this season with the Leeds board making the decision after the 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

The former RB Leipzig manager won only two of his last 17 league games and the defeat at Forest left Leeds outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

A section of Leeds fans called for Marsch to be sacked after the defeat at the City Ground and that hostile reception pressed the boardroom, and majority owner Andrea Radrizzani, into a major decision.

Leeds face bitter rivals Manchester United in a daunting double-header this week, with Chris Armas, appointed as Marsch's assistant late last month, poised to take caretaker charge for Wednesday's trip to Old Trafford.

Corberán, who was previously an assistant to Bielsa, is a likely contender to be targeted as a long-term replacement.

The 39-year-old Spaniard has guided West Brom into the Championship play-offs this season after succeeding Steve Bruce in October, establishing a reputation for high-intensity football which became a trademark for Leeds under Bielsa.

Corberán also took Huddersfield Town to the play-off final last season before leaving for a brief spell in Greece with Olympiacos.

Leeds will have to pay compensation to land Corberán and are thought to be considering other targets, but want to make an appointment this week if possible.

A sensational Bielsa return is regarded as highly unlikely while another potential candidate, Ralph Hasenhüttl, who was sacked by Southampton in November, is the favourite to take over at struggling Bundesliga club Hoffenheim.

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch during the Premier League match at the City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Sunday February 5, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Forest. - PA/Mike Egerton
Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch during the Premier League match at the City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Sunday February 5, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Forest. - PA/Mike Egerton

Marsch's dismissal comes barely eight months after he successfully led the club to a dramatic late escape from relegation.

Hopes were high over an improved campaign but results, and performances, have become increasingly concerning.

Leeds did consider making a change before the World Cup but a surprise victory at Liverpool and a 4-3 home win over Bournemouth bought Marsch time.

However, those victories were the last Marsch recorded in the league and there have been other issues, such as his touchline behaviour which was at times chaotic and appeared to affect his players.

Though Marsch will point to the departures last summer of his best players, Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, Leeds will have expected better from the current squad.

Around £70 million was spent in the January window last month, with the club's transfer record broken after the signing of French forward Georginio Rütter from Hoffenheim.

Weston McKennie, the United States international, also signed on an initial loan for the season from Juventus despite rival interest from Forest.

Jack Harrison, the winger, had a £20 million move to Leicester City blocked at the 11th hour on deadline day.

With results continuing to alarm, the Leeds board have been split on Marsch's future in recent weeks, with sporting director Victor Orta thought to be a supporter.

But with American company 49ers Enterprises set to take full control at Elland Road later this year, the move has been made to dismiss the 49-year-old.

Leeds said in a statement: "Jesse joined the club in February 2022 and was instrumental in keeping the club in the Premier League on the final day of last season. Rene Maric, Cameron Toshack and Pierre Barrieu will also leave the club.

"We would like to thank Jesse and his backroom staff for their efforts and wish them well for the future. The process of appointing a new head coach is underway and we will continue to keep supporters up to date throughout the coming days."

Armas is now set to take the team at Manchester United on Wednesday, which will provide an intriguing subplot.

The 50-year-old was previously at Old Trafford working under Ralf Rangnick and infamously described as Ted Lasso by disillusioned United players.