Marcelo Bielsa’s impact at Leeds United has highlighted the importance of appointing the right replacement for the Argentine to the Whites, with Lee Bowyer one potential candidate, The Athletic’s Phil Hay has revealed.
Bielsa took over at Elland Road back in the summer of 2018, and has so far worked wonders for the Whites, taking them from a mid-table Championship side to promotion contenders almost instantly.
Leeds are currently top of the Championship table, seven points clear of third-placed Fulham in the race for automatic promotion, with nine games of the season still to be played.
This summer is set to see Bielsa’s contract with Leeds expire, and while it seems inevitable that the Argentine will stay at the club if they secure that promotion to the Premier League, that doesn’t seem to have stopped the club planning for his eventual departure.
Speaking in a QandA on The Athletic about Leeds’ approach to replacing Bielsa, Hay revealed: “I’ve said before that they took a shine to Lee Bowyer. I really can’t say if that’s a path they’d go down post-Bielsa but having seen how well it’s gone under Bielsa, the club know the value of getting the appointment of a head coach spot on.
“In many ways, it’s more important than the players you sign. It’s impossible to get a replica of Bielsa but they’d naturally like their next coach to exert similar influence and authority.”
Bowyer would of course be a familiar face were he to take over at Leeds, having previously played more than 250 games for the club between 1996 and 2003.
The former midfielder is now manager of Leeds’ fellow Championship side Charlton, who he guided to promotion from League One last season.
The Addicks are currently just inside the Championship relegation zone after dropping into the bottom three just before the season’s suspension, with the competitiveness they have shown this season in spite of off-the-field distractions testament to Bowyer’s work.
But while that suggests Bowyer could be more than capable of stepping into the Elland Road dugout, Bielsa’s own performances in that position means the majority of Leeds fans are unlikely to want to have to worry about that any time soon.