Javi Gracia appointed new Leeds manager following long search for Jesse Marsch's successor

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Leeds United have announced the appointment of Javi Gracia as their new head coach following the mid-season sacking of Jesse Marsch.
  • Marsch sacked in early February
  • Leeds embarked on unsuccessful search for successor
  • Gracia appointed under "flexible contract"

WHAT HAPPENED? The American was relieved of his duties on 6 February following a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest which left the club winless in seven league matches. After a largely fruitless search for Marsch's successor, Leeds have officially announced that Javi Gracia will take over at the helm after signing "a flexible contract at Elland Road."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With Marsch's tenure was cut short after barely a year in charge, the Yorkshire club found themselves struggling to find his replacement. Prime target Carlos Corberan - who previously worked at Leeds - signed a contract extension with current employers West Brom, before Rayo Vallecano blocked the club's move for their manager Andoni Iraola. Former Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder and Feyenoord's Arne Slot also turned down Leeds' approaches, with the club initially sticking to their interim trio of managers before turning to Gracia on Tuesday.

AND WHAT'S MORE: The 52-year-old will be known by English football fans for his time at Watford, who he led to the 2019 FA Cup final, after which he enjoyed a year managing La Liga side Valencia. Gracia's most recent position was as Xavi's successor at Saudi outfit Al Sadd, who he helped crown winners of the Qatar Stars League in 2022.

WHAT NEXT FOR GRACIA? Subject to obtaining a work permit, the Spaniard will take immediate charge of Leeds. The Whites' next challenge comes at home against Southampton in the league on Saturday, who received a boost to their survival hopes when interim boss Ruben Selles masterminded a 1-0 victory at Chelsea last Saturday.

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