In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that had many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Leeds United have spent far too long away from the Premier League spotlight, although Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta showed they mean business with one thing they did back in the summer of 2018.
The Whites appointed a manager that knew exactly what he was doing from day one and knew the enormity of the task at hand, as he held experience in a number of top leagues across the globe – as well as having managed in some of World football’s biggest tournaments at international level.
Of course, that man was Marcelo Bielsa. A man who, perhaps, shook the club to its core – but in a positive way.
To say Leeds were in a state of disarray not too long ago might be considered an understatement. The Championship outfit saw a number of, perhaps, inexperienced managers come in through what appeared to be a revolving door at Elland Road under both Ken Bates and Massimo Cellino, seeing the likes of David Hockaday and Darko Milanic both sacked before they could even get their feet under the table.
Indeed, things did not necessarily improve straight away as Radrizzani and Orta brought in Thomas Christiansen and then Paul Heckingbottom to oversee their pursuit of a Premier League return, although they subsequently fell flat in their efforts.
Hence, the arrival of Bielsa and the closest Leeds have been to top-flight football once again.
The Argentine is a renowned managerial figure that has won plenty of plaudits from around a number of figures across the entire game, including the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino. The Guardian produced an article telling the story of “El Loco”, which was titled “the fabled manager and cult hero” as it praised him for what he has contributed to the game.
His experience and methods on the training pitch are likely to have been key reasons as to why the Whites came as close as they did to obtaining promotion to the Premier League last season and why they are looking on course, once again, to be within a shout of an automatic spot in the current campaign.
Bielsa’s arrival at Elland Road was not an addition that would only shake Leeds, though, as the whole of the English game is something that, perhaps, has been completely changed by the presence of the South American.
The 64-year-old has already had a couple of interesting moments during his time at the Championship outfit that has got the whole country talking about him and his methods.
Of course, the infamous ‘Spygate’ saga will be one that sticks in a number of football fans up and down the country’s minds, however he also showed that he is not scared of doing what he feels is best at the time.
Regarding the issue, he also held a press conference whereby he gave journalists a detailed briefing about his methods via a PowerPoint presentation – which had some calling it a ‘coaching masterclass’ before revealing he paid the £200,000 fine that was handed to them out of his own pocket.
Notably, he also allowed Aston Villa to score after Mateusz Klich scored a highly controversial goal against them in a highly intense Championship fixture last season, drawing praise for his sportsmanship and attitude to the game.
Indeed, perhaps, talkSPORT’s Adrian Durham summed up how good Bielsa has been for English football in an article he wrote for the media outlet. The controversial pundit wrote: “Bielsa has an ability to make players better; his teams are gorgeous to watch – even if it doesn’t always come off his teams are easy on the eye. He trusts young players on the pitch. He watches football, to the point where he knew Ben White, on loan and not spectacular at Peterborough last season, would be a player he could work with in his team this season.
“In short, summing all this up, Bielsa openly and passionately CARES about football. And I think we should all cherish him for that in this country while we have the chance. He doesn’t do it for reputation or money or ego. He does it because he loves this wonderful game.”
Indeed, it would be great to see Bielsa working his managerial magic in the Premier League in the future and, perhaps, he will be able to finally take Leeds back to England’s promised land.
Leeds fans, do you think Bielsa’s arrival shook the club and English football in a positive way? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below!
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