Leeds United are looking for a new manager after the dismissal of Jesse Marsch.
The American had been in charge at Elland Road for almost exactly a year, but, with the club just one place above the relegation zone after defeat to Nottingham Forest at the weekend, the owners decided that it was time to make a change to give Leeds the best chance of Premier League survival this season which has to be the number one priority.
The news will not come as a major surprise. Marsch never won over a section of the Leeds’s fan base, who resented the fact that he had replaced the very popular Marcelo Bielsa. And he also invited unfair comparisons with the fictional character Ted Lasso, another American managing in English football.
Hundreds of them had chanted for his sacking during half-time of the Forest game, and now they have got their wish.
The Premier League sack race
Marsch is the latest casualty of the Premier League sack race, and the second already in 2023 to lose his job since the turn of the year, following Frank Lampard at Everton.
In fact, since the start of the current season, eight clubs have changed their manager, and with more than three months of the campaign to go, that number will surely rise.
What is perhaps slightly surprising is that Marsch was given the January transfer window to try and improve his squad, and the South Yorkshire club spent over £80 million to bring in the likes of Georginio Rutter (for a record fee), Max Wober, Diogo Monteiro, and Weston McKennie on loan.
Whoever, his successor is will have to work with players he had no involvement in choosing.
There is a long list of potential candidates to fill the vacant spot.
The popular choice for many fans would be a return of Bielsa, the man who led them back to the Promised Land of the Premier League after a 16-year absence, and who got the side playing a brand of high-octane football.
However, it should be remembered that he was sacked because the club was in a very similar position in the table last year. He was also interviewed for the Everton job but turned it down because he did not want to take over a team mid-season. Those some reservations would apply in this case.
And would Leeds’ ownership be prepared to admit they had made a mistake by bringing him back?
The Spaniard worked under Bielsa before taking over as manager of Huddersfield who he steered to the Championship play-off final.
He then had a brief spell in charge of Greek side Olympiakos before taking over West Bromwich Albion, who were in the relegation places in the Championship at the time. He has since brought them into play-off contention, and West Brom insist that he is under contract and going nowhere.
Argentine Pochettino has been out of work since being the latest manager to fail to live up to the heightened expectations at PSG. He knows the Premier League well, having guided Southampton to an eighth-placed finish before taking over at Tottenham, whom he took to the finals of the Champions League.
Whether he would want to take over a club involved in a relegation scrap is another matter.
Another man currently out of work, the former Liverpool captain Gerrard was fired by Aston Villa on the eve of the World Cup after just 11 months in charge.
That tarnished a managerial CV that had looked impressive after he led Rangers to their first Scottish Premier League title since 2011, ending the stranglehold of Celtic.
Arguably the most experienced of the available options, Benitez was last employed by Everton, whom he left a year ago.
He is best remembered in England for his time with Liverpool, whom he guided to Champions League success in 2005. He also guided Chelsea to the Europa League in 2013 when he was interim manager, and helped keep Newcastle in the league for several seasons, prior to the takeover.
A pragmatist, his style of football may not be the taste of the purists. However, with points at a premium, it may be just what Leeds need in the short-term.
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