Leeds United experience may end Marcelo Bielsa's management career amid Monday development
Marcelo Bielsa’s fabled management career may now end with his time at Leeds United after it was revealed he has turned down the Santos job.
It was reported by South American journalist Cesar Luis Merlo early on Monday (26 September) that the Argentine had decided against taking up the reins at the Brazilian giants.
It is approaching seven months since he was relieved of his duties at Elland Road on 27 February following a dreadful run of thrashings which saw the club careering towards Premier League relegation, and while he appears to have had no shortage of opportunities to get back into management, nothing has suited him.
Writing on his personal Twitter account Merlo reported: “Marcelo Bielsa rejected the proposal to manage Santos.
“El “Loco” does not consider today that it is an interesting project from the sporting point of view.”
He followed that up in a second post, adding: “What I told about Marcelo Bielsa does not mean that he will take over in Santos in 2023, far from it.
“He has several proposals and, true to his style, he will not rush to make a decision with any club.”
Since leaving United the former Chile and Argentina manager has also been linked to the jobs in charge of Bolivia [Daily Mail, 25 March] and Colombia [Caracol, 19 April] with nothing coming of either.
He was also in line for a return to Athletic Bilbao had Inaki Irachabaletea won the presidential elections in June, but with Jon Uriarte triumphing the move fell through [The Athletic, 25 June].
At 67 he still has a number of years left as a football coach if he wants them, but with every passing opportunity the suspicion grows that he might end a storied career having reached legendary status in West Yorkshire, after he staged a full-scale revolution in taking the club back to the Premier League.
The three and a half seasons he spent in charge of the Whites represent the longest period spent in charge of a senior club side in his entire career.
Considering how much he gave to United, and how much he got back from the club, the players, and the community, it is far from impossible that nothing will quite match up to it at this stage of his life.
He is a revered figure in his home town of Rosario where he started out as both a player and a coach so it would not be a shock to see him feature again there in some fashion, but whether he would be up for taking on such a full on project elsewhere appears increasingly doubtful.
With Jesse Marsch ensconced at Elland Road now, the relegation battle won at the very last, and a new season well under way it feels a lot longer than seven months since Bielsa departed.
Perhaps he accepts one of his other offers in the coming weeks and throw himself back into the grind of day to day management, but if Leeds prove to be the final stop in a career that his heavily influenced some of the biggest names in football today it will have been a suitably memorable one.
Outside of Elland Road it might be Spygate and Frank Lampard, or ordering the goal against Aston Villa that stick in the memory, along with how he shocked multiple members of the Premier League’s top sides upon return after over 16 year’s absence.
But inside the city and the fanbase he will be remembered for so much more that cannot be easily articulated, with Whites supporters who aren’t even born yet sure to know all about him in decades to come.
It isn’t often that a club can become so synonymous with one man in modern football, but for nearly four years that’s what Leeds United were, and despite the eventual downfall amid an injury crisis it was a positive thing, so if it it was the end of his time as a manager it was certainly a fitting one.
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