Why Leeds United should move for Julen Lopetegui if Marcelo Bielsa leaves

According to The Sun (h/t Daily Mail), Leeds United want to appoint Julen Lopetegui as their manager in the event Marcelo Bielsa leaves the club. Bielsa signed a one-year extension this past summer which means that he will be free to leave after this season. (source – BBC).

Profile

Julen Lopetegui’s managerial career started in 2003 when he was the assistant of the Spain U-17 team. Following that he would enter into club management with Rayo Vallecano. However, he would last just 10 games into the season before being sacked.

After taking a 5-year hiatus, Lopetegui returned to management with RM Castilla. He spent one season there before going on to work with the Spanish youth teams. In those 4 years, he experienced immense success.

fbl esp liga real madrid presser
Real Madrid’s Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui holds a press conference at the Ciudad Real Madrid training facilities in Madrid’s suburb of Valdebebas, on October 27, 2018 on the eve of the Spanish League “Clasico” football match Real Madrid CF vs FC Barcelona. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Following that, he took charge of Porto for two years without much success. He was eventually sacked in 2016 but was appointed as Spain’s manager after Vicente Del Bosque was let go of. Over the next two years, he built Spain for the 2018 FIFA World Cup only for Real Madrid to swoop in for his services. He was shortly dismissed as Spain boss before the showcase tournament.

His Real Madrid tenure would be a forgetful one as he would last just 4 months in charge. Last season he was appointed as Sevilla boss and he led them to a memorable Europa League title defeating the likes of Manchester United and Inter Milan along the way.

The perfect Bielsa successor?

How do you replace someone so iconic like Marco Bielsa who led the club to a first division promotion after 16 years? While it might not be entirely possible to take Bielsa’s place, Leeds do have a competent manager as a contingency plan.

In Julen Lopetegui, they have a manager who has won the Europa League with Sevilla who had most of their players on loan at the club. Working with a shoestring budget, he toppled once European powerhouses such as Manchester United and Inter Milan.

seville v fc internazionale uefa europa league final
COLOGNE, GERMANY – AUGUST 21: Julen Lopetegui, Head Coach of Sevilla is thrown into the air in celebration by his players following their team’s victory in the UEFA Europa League Final between Seville and FC Internazionale at RheinEnergieStadion on August 21, 2020 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Pool via Getty Images)

Yes, his Real Madrid stint can be pointed at. But one needs to remember it was a season of transition there with Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane departing the club. Since then he has bounced back with Sevilla.

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Verdict

Under Lopetegui’s stewardship, Sevilla played some fantastic attacking football en route to a 4th place finish and Europa League trophy last season. Sure, Bielsa has his oddball methods and out of the box tactics. But Lopetegui comes with the experience of holding some of the biggest managerial posts in European football. Leeds would be making no mistake in appointing Julen Lopetegui in the event Marco Bielsa does not renew his contract.

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