By David Woods

21st Feb, 2020 | 8:15am

Phil Hay: PL-winning manager contacted by Leeds pre-Bielsa couldn't name one player in the squad

Marcelo Bielsa might have been the biggest name but he wasn’t the only high-profile manager on the list as Leeds looked to replace Paul Heckingbottom. 

Claudio Rainieri – who took Leicester to an improbable Premier League title – was contacted, although he didn’t impress the Leeds hierarchy.

On the latest episode of the Phil Hay show podcast, the Athletic journalist was asked if he could reveal the name of the manager who couldn’t name even one player in the Leeds squad at the time when contacted about the job.

“The coach I’m told was Claudio Ranieri,” Hay said, “and you shouldn’t mistake that answer by thinking that Rainieri was about to take charge of Leeds or was seriously considering it.

“He was on the list when Leeds were talking about replace Heckingbottom.

“But he was a name on the list that was highly unlikely and was realistically never going to happen.

“I suppose you could have said the same about Bielsa but he came.”

The appointment of Bielsa will hopefully go down as a pivotal moment in the history of Leeds United.

The fact that Ranieri was on the list as well shows the ambition of Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta, but we’ve got to be thankful that Bielsa said yes.

In contrast to Ranieri, Bielsa knew everything about Leeds and had watched every single game they played in the season before he took over.

Winning the 2015/16 Premier League is Ranieri’s legacy but he’s not been as successful since, with four clubs in the space of four years.

He’s currently at Serie A Sampdoria.

In other Leeds United news, Is this acceptable? – Phil Hay saw Lee Johnson wearing one thing v Leeds that was ‘out of order’