Antonio Cassano has told Bobo TV – as per Inside Futbol – that he wants Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa to replace Claudio Ranieri at Serie A side Sampdoria. The Premier League-title winner is out of contract this summer after a very good stint in charge of the mid-table Italian club – but there are no signs he is going to a new contract.
Ranieri, 69, has guided Sampdoria to tenth place in Serie A this season – spending the best part of two years at the club and winning 21 of his 60 matches in charge. He has taken a side that at the time were embroiled in a relegation battle, kept them above the drop zone and finished in 15th. Now in tenth, there is real scope for progression.
But Ranieri looks due to leave with his contract set to expire and plenty has been made about his future – and his potential successor. Cassano, an Italian legend and a well-liked figure at Sampdoria having scored 43 goals in 138 games across two spells for the club – was asked which manager he would like to replace Ranieri. He picked Bielsa:
“I know the environment, I have lived here for 14 years, the perfect and ideal coach, with all due respect to Ranieri, is maestro Bielsa”, Cassano said. “You imagine what could come out of it. This club give you their soul, they love you: in the second training session they would build him a statue. Here they love you so much that they don’t forget you, there are players from 20 years ago like Ciccio Pedone, who lives in Genoa, and when people meet him, they still love him, out of respect for the team. I would like Bielsa, it would be a dream.”
Could Bielsa be tempted by Italy? Well, he has never managed in Serie A but clearly, his reputation is so large that he would certainly not lack suitors in the Italian league. However, Bielsa looks happy at Leeds and in recent press conferences – he has hinted that he would be more than happy to remain at Elland Road for a fourth season. While the club is growing, Bielsa will stay.