Frank Lampard and Diego Martinez head potential replacements for Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa

There's no desire from the Leeds fans to see Bielsa move on. In fact the 66-year-old is revered in West Yorkshire, but there is talk he could leave next summer.

Three successive defeats have seen Leeds United plunged into the relegation mire.

A 3-2 defeat loss at Chelsea, a 7-0 mauling at Manchester City and a sorry 4-1 home defeat against Arsenal have left Marcelo Bielsa's men 15th in the Premier League, just five points above the relegation zone.

The Whites' run of poor results, which includes just three wins all season, has plunged Bielsa into the spotlight. And the future of the Argentinian boss, who replaced Paul Heckingbottom in June 2018, is under scrutiny.

Planet Sport Bet have Bielsa as 7/2 second favourite to be the next Premier League manager to go, with only Rafael Benitez seen as more in danger of losing their job.

The former Athletic Bilbao boss signed a new one-year contract on the eve of the season and he has spent longer at Leeds than at any club in a managerial career that began at Newell's Old Boys in 1990.

But there have been murmurings from Elland Road that Bielsa may call time on his Leeds tenure next summer, when he will turn 67.

And respected Leeds journalist Phil Hay, writing in a Q&A on The Athletic's website, recently said he has a "hunch" this season will be Bielsa's final one at Leeds.

Football Insider even claims Bielsa could be sacked as early as next month, if results do not improve.

The outlet suggests Andrea Radrizzani "will look to bring in a new manager if their fears of getting sucked into a relegation battle intensify".

That would be a huge, and unpopular call with the Leeds fans and things would have to drop off dramatically for that to happen.

Bielsa is an iconic figure at Leeds and that status will remain regardless of what happens in 2022.

If Bielsa is planning to walk away next summer, then Radrizzani will undoubtedly have been told of the Rosario man's intentions.

And his focus will be lining up a replacement. Planet Sport looks at the contenders.

Diego Martinez

The 41-year-old's contract with Granada expired in May 2021 and he is known to be keen on a job in England - he has been in the country brushing up on his English.

Last month, Super Deporte via Sport Witness said Victor Orta "has already made a first approach" to the Spanish coach.

The Spanish outlet say "everything suggests" that he will be Bielsa's replacement at Leeds next season, while La Razon also state that Martinez has been 'endorsed' by Orta.

Martinez was a contender to take the Watford job in October before Ranieri was appointed.

The Athletic's Adam Leventhal wrote: "Diego Martinez, the former Granada head coach, who has spent time in the UK working on his English and watching Premier League football, was linked but a source close to the Spaniard says Watford didn't approach him.

"The highly regarded 40-year-old also has links with Leeds director of football Victor Orta, who may need a replacement for Marcelo Bielsa after the end of this season. Working in England is certainly on his radar."

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard, 43, can consider himself hard done by at Chelsea. He was given the boot at Stamford Bridge in January 2021 after 18 months at the helm.

A run of just two wins in eight games saw the Blues drop to ninth in the Premier League and that was enough for Roman Abramovich to wield the axe. It was the first real sticky point of his Chelsea managerial career and he was given no time to turn things around.

He left with a 49% win ratio at Chelsea after cutting his managerial teeth in the Championship with Derby.

However, the immediate success of his successor Thomas Tuchel vindicated the Chelsea hierarchy's decision and Lampard remains out of work.

The former Derby boss is keen to return to management and he was high up Norwich's list before Dean Smith was appointed as Daniel Farke's successor.

Phillipe Clement

Clement, 47, is one of the lesser known names on the list of Leeds contenders.

The Club Brugge boss has won three consecutive Belgian Pro League titles with Genk (2018/19) and Brugge (2019/20 and 2020/21).

His name was thrown up by The Athletic journo Hay, who claimed Clement was thought to be a target for Radrizzani had Bielsa called time on his Leeds tenure after just one season.

"One name mentioned to me (but I really am just speculating here) was Phillipe Clement at Club Brugge," said Hay.

"The one thing we all know is that it's going to be a massive transition, not just of coaching staff but most likely of players too. And it's going to be a huge call."

Clement is well regarded in his homeland and has a points-per-game record of 1.97 with his current club. Before that at Genk his total was similar (1.96).

It may well be that Radrizzani has had contact with Clement after trying to sign Brugge star Noa Lang earlier this year.


Marcelino, 56, is the current Athletic Bilbao coach after succeeding Gaizka Garitano in January.

The Spanish coach only signed an 18-month contract and somewhat conveniently he will be out of contract next summer. That may well appeal to Leeds, who will not have to pay a compensation fee to the La Liga club.

However, his win ratio has been disappointing, despite building a solid team. Marcelino has managed just a 31.25 win percentage, although he did win the Supercopa de Espana, beating Barcelona 3-2 in one of his first games in charge.

Marcelino has built a defensively sound squad; only Sevilla have conceded less goals than the 14 Athletic Club have conceded in their 18 league games.

But the Basque club are crying out for a top-class No. 9, a player in the mould of Aritz Aduriz. Until then, Marcelino will have his work cut out.

He does have an extensive managerial record in Spain with Racing Santander (twice), Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia among his former clubs.

He boasted similar 50% win ratios at Valencia and Villarreal and won the Copa del Rey at the former in 2018/19.

The year before he won Coach of the Year in La Liga after guiding Valencia to a fourth-placed finish.

Jorge Sampaoli

Sampaoli, 61, is the type of maverick appointment that Radrizzani could plump for. He has shown previously, when he appointed Bielsa, that he is not afraid to deviate from the mainstream.

Like Bielsa, the former Chile coach has managed Marseille. In fact he took over from Andre Villas-Boas at OM in February this year and has the French outfit in second place behind Paris Saint-Germain.

But while Sampaoli may not be the first man supporters think of to succeed Bielsa, if Radrizzani is looking for a similar playing style, then the Argentinian coach could be the man.

Sampaoli has revealed that Bielsa has been a huge influence in his career.

"I had reached a point where I had become dependent on Bielsa," he said. "I spied on Marcelo for 10 years. I watched his training. I followed him everywhere.

"I always identified with his philosophy, his offensive project and his view of the game."

Sampaoli has a wealth of experience, including a 13-month spell in charge of Argentina, while he has also managed in Brazil, Spain and his native Chile.

Lee Bowyer

Bowyer, 44, has yet to manage 200 games and has not had any experience managing in the Premier League.

His 157 games at Charlton did produce a respectable 40.8% win ratio and he called time on his tenure there in March.

The club's financial problems had besieged Bowyer's spell at The Valley and a day after resigning he was appointed Birmingham's new manager.

This season he has struggled to get Blues into the top half of the table and he has warned the club the squad needs investment if they are to rise from their current spot of 17th.

A jump back north to Elland Road would be a huge gamble from Radrizzani. Of course Bowyer is well liked in Yorkshire after his seven years in the top flight with them between 1996 and 2003.

He was Leeds' Player of the Year twice in his time at Elland Road, but a return as manager would be a long shot.

READ MORE: Finish strong or all goes wrong? How Premier League sides perform in the second half of the season

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