By Saikat Mandal

24th Feb, 2023 | 10:40am

Sky Sports pundit told Leeds United chief to hire Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou years ago

Michael Bridges has said that he told Leeds United years ago to keep an eye on Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou during a conversation with board members. 

Postecoglou was one of the several managers Leeds reportedly looked at after replacing Jesse Marsch earlier this month, but the 57-year-old boss wasn’t their first-choice target [The Guardian, 9 February].

After a frantic managerial search, Leeds finally have appointed Spaniard Javi Gracia, who is now awaiting the green light on a work permit before he can get back to work.

Nevertheless, Bridges, the former Leeds player who also works for Sky Sports, did suggest Postecoglou’s name to replace Marcelo Bielsa a few years back.

He said to the board members that Postecoglou is “doing wonderful things”, and now he is happy to find that the Celtic boss has earned rich success in Scotland.

“I remember having a chat with Paul Bell [the club’s executive director] when Leeds and Manchester United played each other three or four years ago at the Optus Stadium in Perth,” Bridges told the GegenPod Football Podcast.

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“We were having a chat and I was saying how [Marcelo] Bielsa is an incredible manager, but who are you [the club] looking at to be the next manager should anything happen?”

“I threw Ange’s [Postecoglou] name in back then and said, ‘Just put him on the radar, keep an eye on what he’s doing’. I said he’s doing wonderful things and that they should keep an eye on what happens and it’s so refreshing to think that Ange is talked about in the Premier League, which is absolutely incredible for Australian coaches.

“Kudos to Ange for where he’s been, what he’s done and where he has come from. If you think many years ago, certain people were calling for his head when he was U23s coach of the Socceroos [Australian national team]!”

Moving on

It appears that Leeds did check on Postecoglou but he was not high on their list of priorities, for whatever reasons. 

In any case, the Whites would have really struggled to have lured him to Elland Road. Of course, he would have been interested to manage a Premier League side, but the situation wasn’t ideal for him to leave. 

He won the Scottish Premiership title last season and is likely to guide Celtic to yet another league title. The Bhoys have been sensational this season, and they are looking unbeatable at the moment. 

Postecoglou probably would have rejected the chance to join Leeds who are fighting for Premier League survival when he could win more trophies this season in Scotland. 

Having said that, a potential move in the future cannot be ruled out. Gracia has joined initially until the end of the season to oversee the fight against relegation, and the Whites could be looking to appoint Postecoglou as a part of their long-term planning in the summer. 

In other Leeds United news, the club are now leading the race to sign an in-demand young attacking talent from a European giant.