Leeds United’s one nagging doubt surrounding the future of Marcelo Bielsa is separation from his family.
That’s according to Philip Buckingham, a journalist for The Athletic.
Bielsa is approaching the end of the one-year deal he signed ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League.
They have enjoyed a hugely successful first season back in the top flight – with three games to go, Leeds sit 10th in the table on 50 points, and relegation has never really been a concern for the Whites at any stage in the campaign, with 15th the lowest position they have occupied.
Were they to win their last three matches – against three of the current bottom seven in Southampton, Burnley and West Brom – they would surpass Wolves’ record of 57 points for a Championship-winning side in the first season back in the Premier League.
A report from The Telegraph‘s Luke Edwards on Thursday claimed that the Argentine was ‘on the verge’ of agreeing a new contract at Elland Road.
In The Athletic, Buckingham reiterated Leeds’ ‘clear expectation’ that Bielsa will remain in West Yorkshire, adding that ‘planning is well underway’ for the 2021/22 campaign. However, he noted that there is a ‘lingering shadow of anxiety’ over his future.
Bielsa has been able to spend ‘minimal’ time with his family, who remain in Argentina, since he moved to the club, and there is a feeling that ‘something will have to give at some point’.
Crucially, Buckingham stressed that any separation for those reasons would be premeditated rather than abrupt. In a sporting sense, Bielsa will require assurances that ‘strategies and ambitions are still aligned’, but the club are reportedly confident that they can convince him.
Still, negotiations are likely to be ‘laborious’, with Buckingham adding in a tweet that they ‘must wait for his signature’.
Leeds are on an exciting upward trajectory and may well be in the European conversation next season if they can maintain or improve upon their 2020/21 form.
They are reaping the rewards of appointing an outstanding coach but must also put up with his idiosyncrasies.
While the potential of this Leeds project is immense, it also feels uniquely fragile were Bielsa to walk away.
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