Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa to be handed £20million transfer warchest
Marcelo Bielsa will be handed a warchest of up to £20million to make Leeds promotion contenders.
Bielsa has finally been confirmed as Leeds’ new head coach and has become the club’s best-paid boss on over £2million-a-year.
Owner and chairman Andrea Radrizzani is determined to bankroll a promotion bid next season and has promised Bielsa Leeds’ biggest transfer kitty since their Premier League days.
The former Argentina, Chile and Marseille boss will be given the £10million investment from the San Francisco 49ers plus cash Radrizzani has held in reserve for a promotion tilt.
Leeds have already discussed transfer targets with Bielsa and want Derby’s Matej Vydra, Abel Hernandez and Angus Gunn.
Bielsa, who has agreed a two-year deal with the option of a third to succeed Paul Heckingbottom, claims he had turned down previous offers from England, but could not snub Leeds.
“I am delighted to accept the role of head coach at Leeds United,” he said.
“It has always been my ambition to work in England and I have had several opportunities to do so during my career.
“However I have always felt it was important to wait for the right project to come along and so when a club with Leeds United’s history made me an offer, it was impossible to turn down.”
Leeds have been negotiating with Bielsa in his native Argentina for over a fortnight and the South American is due to arrive on Saturday, two days before the players report back for pre-season training.
He is expected to travel to Paris first to complete his work permit application.
Bielsa is Leeds’ highest-profile appointment since Terry Venables in 2002 and is a real statement of intent by Radrizzani after the club went backwards during his first full season in charge.
The canny Italian has been waiting for the right coach to bankroll a promotion bid and feels Bielsa can give Leeds a winning mentality.
“He is a coach I have admired for many years and when the opportunity arose to bring him to Elland Road, we made it our top priority for the summer,” he said.
“Marcelo has a wealth of experience and he will use that to create a new culture and a winning mentality at our football club.”
Meanwhile, Bielsa is set for a boost with starlet Paudie O’Connor poised to sign a new deal.
Leeds have moved to tie down O’Connor to ensure he is part of the Argentine’s squad.
Defender O’Connor, who turns 21 next month, impressed on his debut as he made four Championship starts in the last month of the season.
He was only on small wages after joining Leeds in March 2017 from Irish club Limerick following a successful trial.
Fresh terms for O’Connor are set to be confirmed in the next week.
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