Phil Hay: Victor Orta credibility on shaky ground at Leeds United as Jesse Marsch struggles
Victor Orta’s credibility has taken a major hit at Leeds United because he is closely tied to the decision to appoint Jesse Marsch as Marcelo Bielsa’s replacement.
The American ended up topping a list of as many as 40 options considered by the Spaniard to take over from the legendary Argentine, with a replacement needed at any point due to his habit of only signing single year extensions.
But despite keeping the Whites in the Premier League at the death last season, and starting the new campaign strongly, Marsch is now without a win in two months and hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone again, following a majorly disappointing loss at Leicester on Thursday (20 October), which reflects particularly badly on the sporting director’s judgment.
On The Phil Hay Show on Friday (21 October, 21min 20sec) the Square Ball’s Dan Moylan said: “Victor Orta’s credibility has got to be on very, very shaky ground right now hasn’t it, with the current state of play?”
Hay responded: “Absolutely. From what we’re told about Marsch, Orta had looked at around 40 coaches in Europe… Marsch was one of the people that Orta focused in on.
“His analysis, the conclusion he drew from it, was that Marsch was one of the best coaches out there in Europe, that he would suit Leeds as a transitional option from Bielsa, which I have to say more and more I struggle to see.”
He went on to say: “I was told that even had they gone down last season he would have stayed. They would have backed him in those circumstances as well.
“And then the recruitment through the summer was done to fit this system and this style of play. The players who came in were designed for this, so they have kind of put their chips on Marsch in quite a big way, and it will be a big concern that it’s not working.”
The entire house of cards has been built on top of this appointment, since the revolution under Bielsa was so important that the decision on how to replace him and not lose that progress was vital.
The hierarchy have thrown their weight behind Marsch, and rightly so in that there is no point in making a big change and not backing the new manager.
But that only heightens the need to get that decision right, because now all the Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips money has been spent on players to suit the man in charge.
The Red Bull influence was clear with Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and Rasmus Kristensen, brought in during the summer, to varying degrees of success.
But while these moves are clearly not made without collaboration among the hierarchy it is Orta who is the man believed to have the expertise to advise on these matters.
Marsch will carry the can for his team’s results, and right now they aren’t good, but by extension Orta is likely to carry it for the manager, since Andrea Radrizzani is not going to be sacking himself however unpopular he gets with the fans.
So despite being in the running for a switch to Chelsea in recent weeks there is a danger that Orta could end up without a job at all if things don’t improve.