Less than four months after departing Oakwell for a move across Yorkshire, Paul Heckingbottom leaves his post at Leeds United with very little to show for his time at Elland Road.
16 matches and just four wins later, Heckingbottom finds himself jobless after the West Yorkshire side missed out on the Sky Bet Championship Playoffs, finishing 13th despite a strong start to the season that saw them sit fifth at Christmas under Thomas Christiansen, Heckingbottom’s predecessor.
Having more narrowly missed out on a top-six finish last year under Garry Monk, Leeds United and Italian chairman, Andrea Radrizzani now faces the challenge of finding the right man to take the helm ahead of the upcoming campaign. With the uncertainty that follows managerial sackings, it is to be expected that speculation arises around the potential contenders for the job and with a huge fanbase eagerly anticipating the new arrival, this case is no different.
Fans of the once European champions will be hoping whoever comes in can take this sleeping giant back to the promised land and within the runners are names most definitely fit for teams challenging at the right end of the table.
62-year-old Argentinian coach, Marcelo Biesla has been heavily linked with the Whites, and is available having left French club Lille in December after just seven months in charge. That said there is no doubting Biesla’s managerial pedigree as he boasts an impressive record across both Europe and South America. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that representatives of Biesla have confirmed talks have begun regarding the vacancy, it seems the club have outlined their intended target.
Having found true success in long terms spells with the national teams of Argentina and Chile, Biesla headed to Europe and thrived at Ligue 1 Marsielle during the 2014/15 season that saw him leave Les Olympiens with a 51% win ratio. Biesla also led Athletic Bilbao to the finals of the Europa League and Copa Del Rey, finishing runners-up on both occasions.
The man behind the magic of Leicester City’s Premier League winning season has also been linked with a return to England following an indifferent spell with Nantes. Like Biesla, Claudio Ranieri does not lack quality and has engineered successful spells at Juventus, Roma, Monaco and Chelsea to name a few. Perhaps the 66-year-old Italian fancies one last chance at silverware with a move to a Championship club with endless potential.
Mick McCarthy has also been thrown into the fray following his exit from Ipswich Town after five years at Portman Road and his knowledge of the division cannot be underestimated. Similarly, Steve Bruce has been linked with a move north after Aston Villa’s playoff final defeat to Fulham and is joined on the list by Carlos Carvalhal and former England and Everton boss Sam Allardyce.
Personally, I think whoever makes the move to Leeds United needs to be committed to the project and will have to provide stability to a club that often falls victim to the modern day managerial merry-go-round as they prepare to make their seventh appointment since 2015. Biesla or Ranieri would ensure the buzz returns to Elland Road and would emphasize the pulling power that a club such as Leeds United still possesses.
However with huge names comes huge risk and major success in Europe does not mean that success in England will automatically follow. At a high profile club that demands results, this will always be a daunting proposition but I would trust in an experienced head such as Biesla to be a hit with the Whites faithful and he could attract some big summer signings providing the investment is there.
Leeds fans, who would you like to be the next manager through the door at Elland Road and why? Also, was letting Heckingbottom go the correct decision? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us at @AllOutFootball_ with the hashtag #AOF.