Leeds United are reportedly set to bring in Javi Gracia as manager but have held talks to hire Rafa Benitez – a manager that Marcelo Bielsa has previously said always gets “the maximum” from his players, when discussing the Spaniard.

Benitez, 62, is currently out of work and has been since being sacked by Everton during the 2021-22 campaign. The Spaniard has a glittering CV, but it is fair to say in recent years – since Newcastle – he has struggled in management.

The Mail report that Leeds have made enquiries to bring in the ex-Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle and Everton boss. But, it is believed that West Ham are also showing interest in the Spanish manager – with David Moyes under pressure.

Indeed, it is now claimed that Gracia is set to be appointed Leeds manager – with Tim Thornton reporting that he is likely to arrive at Leeds this morning. Bielsa, though, is a big fan of Benitez – praising him as per TeamTalk in 2021.

“Benitez is successful because he puts together compact teams. Always gets the maximum from his players. Changes expected are those I mentioned: Benitez teams are strong, efficient and hard to beat,” Bielsa said on Benitez.

Hull City v Everton: The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Leeds held Benitez talks: Bielsa said he gets maximum from players

It does look as though it is going to be Gracia that is given the reigns as a replacement for Jesse Marsch. A manager that mixes attacking football with a sense of pragmatism. A gaffer that likes his sides to keep the ball, pass it around.

Gracia has impressed in England with Watford. In terms of Benitez, it would not be a good fit. While there is no doubt that Benitez has an incredible CV – he is a manager that prides himself on organisation and a defensive mindedness.

Leeds have been moulded to attack, after years under Bielsa and Marsch. Such a change in philosophy would take time and that is something Leeds do not have – with 15 League games to play. Gracia is the right choice, over Bielsa.

Everton Training Session
Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images
Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

More in News