Leeds begin talks with former Watford boss Gracia over taking charge

Leeds begin talks with former Watford boss Javi Gracia over taking charge at Elland Road… but Rafa Benitez is NOT in the running for the job as he is holding out for a different project

  • Leeds have still not replaced Jesse Marsch two weeks after sacking him
  • They had been happy to keep interim boss Michael Skubala in charge
  • They could now turn to Javi Gracia after dropping into the relegation zone 

Leeds United have opened talks with Javi Gracia as they look to appoint a manager with Premier League experience to guide them to safety.

Former Watford manager Gracia is one of two names under consideration by Leeds but Rafa Benitez, the former Liverpool boss, is not in the running as he is holding out for a different project.

Leeds had been willing to leave Michael Skubala in interim charge until the end of the season, however, after Saturday’s defeat by Everton pushed them deep into the relegation mire, and with a crucial game against Southampton this weekend, they have moved to bring in someone with greater experience.

They are offering a four month contract with bonuses to keep the team in the Premier League.

Director of football Victor Orta is under increasing pressure to find the right man, a fortnight on from the club sacking Jesse Marsch.

Leeds could bring in former Watford manager Javi Gracia until the end of the season

The club had been willing to stick with Michael Skubala (right) for the rest of the campaign but sporting director Victor Orta (left) feels they need more experience to avoid relegation

After failing to tempt candidates such as Rayo Vallecano’s Andoni Iraola, West Brom’s Carlos Corberan and Arne Slot of Feyenoord, they spoke to former Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder only to change their minds following poor fan reaction.

They have now targeted two more names with Gracia free after leaving Qatari club Al-Sadd and understood to be willing to accept a short-term deal.

The 52-year-old coached Watford from January 2018 to September 2019 and was a popular figure among staff. Gracia guided Watford to Premier League safety and took them to only the second FA Cup final in their history. However, he was sacked the following September, like so many Watford managers, after a poor start to the season.

His last job saw him retain the league title with Al-Sadd after he took over as coach from Xavi who had left for Barcelona. Gracia has also coached at Valencia, Malaga and Rubin Kazan.

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