Marsching On Separate Paths – Who Next For Leeds United?


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Following the summer departures of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, the Whites invested significantly in their squad and more importantly their new man.

Yet as this rendition of the Premier League season reaches its‘ business end’ there was still a lot to be desired from the American, who has not really shown many signs of change in what has become another season on a course for relegation if things don’t change, and quickly at that.

This season has largely been a case of margins for the West Yorkshire outfit, sometimes those margins have been small, sometimes large. The only constant though is that Leeds have been on the wrong end of them more times than not.

Whilst only a week on from the closing of the January transfer window, the feelings between fans and Marsch hit an all-time low with supporters chanting for the American’s departure in the stands of the City Ground on Sunday afternoon.

This was not just a feeling held by those in the stands in Nottingham though, there has been distaste at Elland Road too. However, social media is where the real noise is to be heard, during and after the game this weekend ‘Yank Lampard’ was trending on Twitter, pulling similarities between the American and former Everton, Chelsea, and Derby manager Frank Lampard, who has been a disliked figure in West Yorkshire for some time.

The aforementioned summer and January investments haven’t been cheap, whilst the outgoings of Phillips and Raphinha reportedly brought in close to £95 million, the Whites also spent around £100 million with two of the Whites’ biggest investments, Brendan Aaronson and Luis Sinisterra failing to make the impressions once imagined they would.

Partner this then with the January coups of Georginio Rutter, Maximilian Wöber, and the loan signing of Weston McKennie, and for around £140 million over two windows, there isn’t a lot to show for that, currently at least.

Now that isn’t to say those players won’t come good in the slightest, all three bring something into the Leeds squad which has been lacking, Rutter brings another attacking option, which with Patrick Bamford’s inconsistency has been much needed, McKennie brings midfield depth and Wöber gives Leeds a progressive option in defence, who has the ability to help build from the back.

The bases are there to build on and around 100 percent, but the question that remained to be asked was, do Leeds United Marsch On Together with this promising team, or do they progress to someone new?

With owner Andrea Radrizzani confirming that the club may be sold in the near future and the expected party to take those shares being the American investment group the 49ers Enterprises, do they stick with an American and try to build the club’s reputation and supporter base in the States?

Yet, doing that was always going to be a major risk. Marsch didn’t seem to be winning back favour at Elland Road and hadn’t for some time. With games against other relegation rivals Everton and Southampton on the horizon, the side was desperate for new ideas, to keep them in the division.

With the news breaking on Monday afternoon that the club had parted with the American, the club now have a difficult process ahead of them that has to be calculated but quickly calculated.

The managerial market right now is a tough one to operate in, with few free agents available who would be the right fit for the club and the task at hand.

The elephant in the room is obviously Marcelo Bielsa, and whilst for some fans of this club this may be the one as such, the ship is believed to have sailed and the move makes little sense, Bielsa doesn’t take on a project mid-way through a season, as proved with Everton recently.

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However, his former disciple might just be tempted to. Re-enter Carlos Corberán, the Spaniard is well known in West Yorkshire for his prior spell in the dugout at Elland Road as Bielsa’s assistant and then for his time at Huddersfield Town between 2020-2022, where he took the club to the Championship Play-Off Final in May of last year.

However, there may be complications with this, the 39-year-old was touted around to be a potential candidate for the Everton job too alongside his former mentor, yet the Merseyside club brought in Dyche.

Corberán’s West Brom side are flying and as such the coach is gaining many plaudits for the work he is doing as an upcoming and exciting young coach who has real potential to be the next something in management.

Corberán’s football is highly fluid and able to transition between systems and shapes depending on the opposition and how the game is being played, in attacks the Spaniard almost exclusively builds from the back and looks to create issues for teams with overlapping full-backs and then penetrate space.

Defensively though his sides are resolute, yet still fluid. Wide men can revert into more defensive roles to soak up pressure, or solely to follow the ball as the opposition progresses down their side.

When he took over the Midlands side they said at the bottom of the league, below his former side Huddersfield, now though the Baggies sit 6th in the division winning 10 of the 13 games under his rein.

Emerging as the bookies’ favourite early on is understandable, for many the Spaniard was deemed to be the successor to Bielsa on El Loco’s departure before his move across West Yorkshire, and with knowledge of the club and arguably still a connection to the club, it would make sense for Corberán to be the new face of a young side, which together could grow into an exciting young team, under an arguably more exciting young manager.

With the reported financial issues that face West Brom too, if the Whites were to make an offer to Corberán to return to the club, it would be hard to see him turn it down, however well his current club may be doing with him at the helm.

The next option is Ange Postecoglou, the Celtic boss is no stranger to rumours of a managerial switch across the border, although none of the previous have come to fruition. Formerly linked with the Chelsea, Brighton, Everton, and Wolves jobs the Australian has a growing reputation and it is clear to see why.

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So far this season the Aussie has taken the Hoops to nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership, drawing once and losing once in their 25 games played this season, partner this with Champions League Qualification and you can quickly understand the reasonings behind clubs eyeing up the man at the Helm of the Scottish giants.

The Bhoys are usually dominant in the SPL, however under Ange they have become an entirely new force scoring 78 goals in the league this season, an outlandish number that gives a good idea of the dominance his side holds over the league, it’s worth noticing too that they too have only conceded 18 goals, just furthering this idea of dominance.

His sides often operate in a 4-3-3, utilising a high line with wide attackers to then push fullbacks or midfielders into the half-spaces offering exciting and energetic football on the front foot, to keep the idea of playing on the front foot, the former Australian National Team manager has revitalised his defensive structure since his time in charge of The Kangaroos, now preferring his team to press aggressively as opposed to the lower block he used to qualify his home country for the 2014 World Cup.

Again, though this presents the issue of having to present a manager away from a current job and with Celtic showing no sign of slowing down this may prove to be a more difficult task than his potential fellow candidate.

 The final and most audacious candidate the Whites may look to though is Mauricio Pochettino, there is no doubt that this would prove to be an extremely difficult and unlikely proposition, yet there may be a chance.

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Going back to Bielsa’s appointment given the Argentine’s reputation across the world, it would seem unlikely he would come to West Yorkshire but the club sold the project to him and as they say, the rest is history.

Therefore, as tricky as it may be, there may be a chance that they can replicate this with another disciple of their former manager. Leeds offers the chance to be an incredible project for any manager, with significant funds likely to be available if the club is taken over in the summer any potential manager could have their fair share of market usage.

Looking back at his time at Southampton, he took over mid-way through the season and revolutionised the club’s playing style and in doing so turned the club’s season round and left any doubts of relegation in the past.

His CV since then speaks for itself, and as such is always in the frame whenever a manager’s post becomes available in the Premier League, with him being the favourite for the Aston Villa job a few months ago until Julen Lopetegui took the reins.

As with the other potential candidates, the Argentine is known for his pressing football which seems to be a vital factor in Leeds’ managerial search as seen with Bielsa and Marsch, a style in which Pochettino excels.

Whilst the Whites likely won’t come to a decision soon, it is vital that their next manager is in place before their game against Everton so they have the best chance to implement any stylistic tweaks before what will go down as a must-win game for the club if their rebuild is to be in the Premier League.


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