By George Overhill

7th Mar, 2023 | 10:10am

Leeds United: Doubts already that Javi Gracia is right man for Elland Road

Leeds United have done well in the transfer market but not put the right man in charge of leading the team, recruitment sources have told i News.

Jesse Marsch failed to get a consistent tune out of an increasingly expensive squad of players who were added to with heavy January spending, and a bungled transition after he was fired belatedly landed on Javi Gracia.

But “many are dubious” that the man now in charge at Elland Road will be the man to keep Leeds United in the Premier League with a set of players bought to fulfil a different playing style under the American.

Mark Douglas reports in the i: “The feeling among recruitment sources spoken to by i, though, is that while Leeds have bought well they haven’t had the right man to lead them.

“And many are dubious about whether Javi Gracia, appointed at the end of a tortuous search in which Leeds were turned down by all of their preferred candidates, is the man to draw the best out of a squad assembled to play high-octane, front foot, pressing football.”


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Unfortunately this is no surprise, and is probably what plenty of Whites fans have been thinking privately, but in the recent circumstances it could be worse.

Victor Orta backed Marsch to the hilt and bought numerous American and former Red Bull players, apparently to help facilitate the manager’s ideals.

But Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Rasmus Kristensen, Max Wober, and Weston McKennie have between them only had moderate success, with Marsch teams invariably chaotic.

Once it become abundantly clear that the club were a long way down their list of priorities to replace him it was always a significant risk that whoever came in wasn’t particularly suited.

But given the flirtation with Alfred Schreuder and the attempt to muddle through with caretaker boss Michael Skubala in charge all the way, Gracia at least seems like a plausible option to organise the side.

He has already picked up one win, which proved beyond his predecessor for four months, and if he can get a few more it should be enough to scrape survival again.

After that, if his style doesn’t tie up with the squad as it has been stocked then he will likely be sent on his way with the fans’ best wishes.

But it can’t be ignored that building a team heavily in one man’s image and then sacking him is to take a major risk, and to then not have a ready-made contingency plan in place for that eventuality is downright careless.

In other Leeds United news, the club’s scouts have just watched a £26.6million striker target who has been linked for two windows and is planning to move in the summer.

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