Leeds ‘contract offer’ to Gracia speaks volumes about manager hunt

Erik ten Hag on Manchester United victory over Leeds United

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Leeds United are set to confirm Javi Gracia as Jesse Marsch’s successor two weeks after the American was axed. With the Whites in Premier League relegation danger, the Spaniard has reportedly only been offered a short-term deal after a host of preferable managerial targets fell by the wayside. 

Marsch was given his marching orders earlier this month following a 1-0 defeat away to newly-promoted Nottingham Forest. Under-21s coach Michael Skubala has taken caretaker charge in the meantime, and his stint has lasted longer than many expected as a calamitous replacement plan unfolded in the background. 

A number of Leeds’ top targets proved unattainable as approaches for West Bromwich Albion boss Carlos Corberan, Rayo Vallecano manager Andoni Iraola and Feyenoord’s Arne Slot all fell short. Recently-sacked former Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder also came close to joining, only for the club to pull the plug after negative fan reaction. 

Gracia and Rafa Benitez emerged as the new front-runners earlier this week, and reports now indicate that Gracia is expected in Yorkshire on Tuesday to complete his appointment.

According to The Athletic, he will initially only be given a contract until the end of the season with only 15 Premier League games remaining to claw their way to safety. Such a short-term proposal suggests that Leeds’ hierarchy are yet to be convinced about Gracia as a long-term option at Elland Road. 

It also hammers home the point that the club missed out on several of their top managerial targets, who surely would have been given longer-term contracts upon arrival in the Premier League. Gracia is an esteemed manager in his own right, boasting names such as Malaga, Valencia and Watford on his CV. 


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