10th July marked the birthday of the late Leeds United legend Don Revie. His infamous quote “You get nowt for being second” now seems more important than ever. At Leeds we have the ever so similar scenario of welcoming a new manager to the club and Marcelo Bielsa has even been named the ‘best coach in the world’ by Pep Guardiola.
Marcelo Bielsa aka ‘El Loco’
Bielsa arrives at Leeds with a sparkling reputation and the nickname ‘El Loco’ which is the Spanish translation of crazy.
My favourite quote about the Argentine is from his former player at Athletic Bilbao, Iker Muniaín.
When asked if he is as mad as portrayed, he replied: “No, he’s madder.”
As if you could possibly think Leeds United could get a world class coach that at least did not have a stigma attached to it.
Less than a month until the season starts and there is genuine concern with only two incoming deals.
It is a rather scary thought considering Bielsa walked out on Lazio during pre-season for this exact reason.
On The Pitch
Of course, nothing matters unless Bielsa can get it right on the pitch.
To say it has been a frustrating summer for Leeds fans so far is an understatement.
My word it really is hard being both a Leeds and England fan.
As we say goodbye to the World Cup, it’s still just the two in-coming signings at the moment with Lewis Baker and Jamal Blackman both arriving from Chelsea and many outgoings.
The Argentine is known for his squad clear outs and reportedly turned down the West Ham job a couple of years ago saying he would only keep eight of their players.
Leeds have never really been a rich club. After all, spending big money we don’t have is the sole reason we are in this mess in the first place. Therefore we may well make the assumption that academy players could prove to be crucial to success this season.
Bielsa has watched all 51 games from Leeds last season (poor bloke) so he knows just as well as we do where we need to improve.
With three training sessions a day and other notoriously intense tactics the new coach likes to employ, he needs fit legs in the squad. Especially ones that are going to last at least 50 odd games.
One thing that does worry me is the fact that Marcelo has taken a liking to defender, Gaetano Berardi. Berardi had disciplinary problems last season and his future was up for some doubt. With him and Bielsa being absolute nutters so who knows where that will lead.
One thing is for sure, these next few weeks are going to be incredibly important. The Whites have seemingly missed out on several summer targets such as Kyle Bartley, Matej Vydra and Abel Hernandez wasting precious time.
The positive we do still have Luke Murphy with a year left on what has to be an 11-year contract.
Going forward with transfers needs to pick up speed, there is no doubt. The interesting thing is, however, as mentioned, the number of players leaving. Marcus Antonsson, Andy Lonergan, Felix Weidwald, Romario Vieira and Madger Gomes have all left the club permanently.
Three other players are also set to leave after unsuccessful spells with the club.
Eunan O’Kane, the man who passes in one direction only. Caleb Ekuban, who from 5 yards out, would come closer to hitting the corner flag than the net. Then we have the sweet prince that is Hadi Sacko.
Poor old Hadi is such a nice bloke but unfortunately, he is probably best remembered for getting #SquareItHadi trending in Leeds after acknowledging he wasn’t crossing the ball.