By George Overhill

7th Feb, 2023 | 7:40pm

Leeds United close on manager appointment as Raul report is disputed

Raul was not approached to be Leeds United manager but the club are “getting closer” to an appointment, according to Mo Ibrahim.

Sky Sports Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio’s English site editor provided a Tuesday update on the race to replace Jesse Marsch who was sacked on Monday (6 February), and suggests things are moving in the right direction.

He did however report that Real Madrid reserve boss Raul was not approached, disputing a Monday night report from AS in Spain which said the legendary striker had already turned down the job.

Reporting on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon (7 February) Ibrahim wrote: “Leeds United still in the process to appoint the new manager.

“Understand they did not go in for Raul.

“Process is going well and they are getting closer to appointing a manager.”

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It is positive that the process is moving along but it is surprising that the hierarchy decided to dispense with Marsch without having anyone lined up, or even a top option [Sky Sports, 7 February].

Raul appears to be drawing increasing interest from across Europe and the Whites are sure to have assessed him, but turning to an unproven coach who has yet to operate outside the comfort zone of the club where he became a star as a player would be a gamble.

He may prove to be as adept as a manager as he was during his playing career, but taking the chance that he doesn’t do so when Premier League survival is on the line would be bold to say the least.

Michael Skubala faced the media earlier on Tuesday ahead of taking charge of the first of two Manchester United games alongside Chris Armas and Paco Gallardo.

It may be unlikely that Leeds United take points from Erik ten Hag’s men but this side don’t have the luxury of writing off any fixtures as games begin to run out, so it would certainly be preferable to at least have somebody in for the return match at Elland Road on Sunday (12 February).

The January transfer window looked to have been planned pretty impressively, but if there was a chance that Marsch was going to be fired so soon after then there should have been more work going on behind the scenes to put plans in place for that eventuality.

In other Leeds United news, click here to see breaking, around-the-clock updates on Leeds’ search for a new manager in our interactive live blog.