It has been quite a year to be a Leeds United fan, hasn’t it?
Following the decision by Andrea Radrizzani to appoint Marcelo Bielsa as the Whites’ new manager last summer, the Yorkshire-based outfit have experienced somewhat of a footballing revolution over the past 10 months.
With the Argentine making an immediate impact on his players at Elland Road, it looked almost certain at Christmas that Leeds would clinch an automatic promotion spot in the Championship following a superb start to the season.
However, despite holding a three-point advantage over Sheffield United in the race for the top-two at the start of April, a run of four games without a win for the Whites has seen them have to settle for the lottery of the play-offs.
Although Leeds have a miserable record in the competition having lost in all four of their previous entries, if they can overcome the disappointment of missing out to the Blades, there is no reason why they cannot achieve promotion via a trip to Wembley Stadium later this month.
If they do indeed secure a return to the Premier League after 15 years away, there could be several potential consequences for the club.
Check them out below.
MARCELO BIELSA STAYS AT ELLAND ROAD
A managerial maverick, Bielsa has allowed Leeds’ supporters to dream of top-flight football by bringing a wonderful style of play to West Yorkshire which has set the Championship alight at times this season.
Although the Argentine will be aware of the trials and tribulations that the play-offs will bring over the next few weeks, if he can get his players to perform at their very best, the Whites should be more than capable of securing promotion.
Whereas the challenge of Premier League football would undoubtedly be enough to warrant Bielsa to extend his stay at Elland Road, if he fails to achieve this goal, the 63-year-old may be tempted to move elsewhere.
LEEDS RECEIVE A FINANCIAL INJECTION
Known as the richest game in football, the Championship play-off final offers a huge amount of prize money for the winner every year and so if Leeds can secure promotion, they will be in line to receive a financial injection.
Last season’s winners Fulham secured a windfall of £174.8m (via the Independent) which allowed them to bring a number of high-profile signings upon their return to the Premier League.
However, the Cottagers’ failure to invest correctly should send a warning out to the Whites as, given the club’s previous history of money troubles, the last thing that Radrizzani should be doing is sanctioning an unsustainable level of spending in the summer.
THE WHITES’ YOUTH PROJECT IS FORGOTTEN
A true believer in bringing through homegrown talent, Bielsa has given the likes of Jack Clarke, Jamie Shackleton and Bailey Peacock-Farrell the chance to prove themselves for the senior side this season.
Yet by securing top-flight football for the 2019/20 campaign via success in the play-offs, the former Chile manager may have to change his stance in order to give Leeds the best chance of prolonging their stay amongst England’s elite.
Although abandoning Leeds’ youth project may result in short-term success at Elland Road, it could have a negative impact in the future as the club’s supporters may start to feel disconnected from their side, especially if Radrizzani decides to target unproven, international players.
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