Marcelo Bielsa close to committing future to Leeds for at least one more season

Chris Bascombe
Marcelo Bielsa is eager to make his style of football work in England - Getty Images Europe

Marcelo Bielsa is looking increasingly likely to commit his future to Leeds United for at least one more season to complete his Elland Road revival in a bid to overcome the pain of narrowly missing Premier League promotion.

The Argentine coach was agonisingly short of ending Leeds' Premier League exile, the Yorkshire side suffering heartbreaking defeats during the championship climax before bowing out in the play-offs to Derby County.

Bielsa raised question marks about whether he would remain at the club in the aftermath of that failure as he took responsibility for his team’s late collapse.

But Leeds chiefs have been determined to retain his services since the end of their campaign. Although Bielsa’s side blew a golden opportunity to return to the top flight, the scale of the improvement in their overall performance was exceptional and probably exceeded pre-season expectations.

If he can maintain that upward trajectory, Leeds are sure to be among the favourites for promotion next season.

Talks have been ongoing between Bielsa and Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta, and although further conversations are to be had, those working within the club are more positive about retaining the 63-year-old.

It was a coup for Leeds to secure Bielsa last summer and the demand for his services has only enhanced due to his work in England, numerous clubs admiring the manner in which he has created an idealistic brand of football.

There are suggestions Roma are interested in luring Bielsa to Italian football, but the coach spoke last season of the challenge of trying to impose his vision on English football.

Had Leeds been promoted, it would have been intriguing to see how Bielsa’s methods would have worked in the top flight. 

Bielsa’s current Leeds deal enables the club to trigger a 12 month extension – but there was an agreement within that enabling him to terminate the arrangement if he felt he could take the team no further.

The coach is due to return to South America for a summer break over the next few days, so Leeds fans will be hoping for clarity before then.

Since becoming manager, Bielsa has transformed the footballing approach at Elland Road and taken a hands-on approach with every detail, including overseeing changes to the changing ground.

An enigmatic figure, he courted controversy during the season when openly admitting engaging in covert surveillance of opposing teams – ‘spygate’ as it came to be referred – when a member of his coaching team was caught watching Derby County’s training.

Bielsa famously called a press conference to admit the offence, attributing the indiscretion to cultural differences as such methods are more common in other countries he has worked.

The incident came back to haunt him and Leeds at the end of the season when – with inevitable irony – Derby ended Bielsa’s promotion dream.

Leeds will go into the pre-season feeling uplifted should, as anticipated, Bielsa commit to another year.