Javi Gracia in talks over Leeds United manager's job with decision to be made 'soon'
- Leeds turn to Javi Gracia
- Sacked Marsch earlier in month
- Have struggled to find quick replacement
WHAT HAPPENED? It's not been quite so straightforward for Leeds United since they decided to part ways with Marsch on February 6. Caretaker manager Michael Skubala has remained in the hot seat since, steering the club through two games against Manchester United - and drawing one - while also losing to Everton. Fabrizio Romano reports that after a long and difficult search, Leeds have now turned to Spanish coach Gracia, who is being deemed a 'serious candidate' for the job.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Transfer journalist Romano further reported that the club will make an internal decision soon on Gracia, with two names currently sat on their managerial shortlist. Gracia has been out of work since February 2022, when he left Qatari outfit Al Sadd after winning the Qatar Stars League.
The coach who could challenge Gracia for the role, according to TalkSPORT, is Rafa Benitez. They report that the Spanish manager is keen to take on the job, but Gracia remains the favourite. It is believed he is willing to return to management to help Leeds retain Premier League status.
Vastly experienced in England and abroad, Benitez hasn't managed since being sacked by Everton in 2022, but has found success at the highest level with Liverpool and Real Madrid, while also helping Newcastle to win promotion from the Championship after they were relegated.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Replacing Jesse Marsch hasn't proven difficult because of a lack of effort from Leeds, but merely because deals for all of their identified candidates have failed to materialise. GOAL reported early in February that Andoni Iraola was their target, before it emerged that sacked Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder had travelled to Leeds for talks over the job.
Neither of those two ended up taking on the role, while links to Steven Gerrard have most recently emerged. However, it appears as though the nightmare could finally be coming to an end with Gracia. The Spaniard has top-flight experience in La Liga and the Premier League, taking Watford to an FA Cup final before being sacked in 2019.
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WHAT NEXT? Leeds have another huge relegation six-pointer to play next when they host the Premier League's bottom side Southampton on Saturday. And having already lost to fellow relegation candidates Everton, another one could be seriously costly.