Jansson leaving? Bielsa joining? What does it all mean?


It wouldn’t be a Leeds close-season without uncertainty, rumour, discontent and mysteries even Miss Marple would be confused by. With the club closing in on Marcelo Bielsa – much to the confusion of the entire footballing world – we’re met with yet more uncertainty. Is he going to join? He appears to be locked into a negotiation with the club around his terms.
It seems unlikely that a manager with such a big reputation would be:

  • Cheap
  • Willing to work under a Director of Football with little input in transfer policy
  • Willing to take on such a toxic role without big assurances
  • Willing to take on such a role without some real intent to change this squad

And this is where the uncertainty comes in. With the club negotiating his terms it seems likely that they’ll need to promise significant things with regards to transfer budget, autonomy to restructure the squad and a contract with some job security. After all, the demands of Thomas Christiansen and Paul Heckingbottom will not be the same as someone with a managerial CV as comprehensive as Bielsa’s.
While his predecessors may have been content with short contracts and the mandate that transfer policy is deferred to Victor Orta, it seems unlikely that Marcelo would be. He’ll want a good wage, a sensible length contract and presumably greater remit to change/shape the playing side of Leeds United.
What’s surprising (aside from the grandiose nature of this unexpected appointment) is that the assumed terms Bielsa will require are a significant departure from how Radrizzani has setup the football club. It could all still come to nothing, but most press sources are indicating that the two parties have practically reached an agreement, so I expect we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

Jansson’s press statements

During his International duty with Sweden our prized centre-back has been casting doubt over his long-term future at Leeds. Predictably, when asked about interest in his signature he’s elected to not deflect the question but instead acknowledge that there is interest in him. He’s intent on staying in England and asserts that he’s happy at Leeds, but also that he needs to be playing in the Premier League.
Most fans (myself included) won’t begrudge him an opportunity to throw a few well-intended punches at Leeds United for yet again failing to realise any ambition and looking as far away from promotion as they’ve ever looked. It’s only fair that he – as a professional – applies pressure to his bosses to nail their ambition to the mast. Pontus wants to play in the Premier League and (presumably) would be comfortable doing so with Leeds, IF there’s a plan to get there. Bringing in someone like Bielsa and having a transfer policy that clearly shows intent will go a long way to addressing these concerns.
But there’s this ever-looming doubt that Leeds are rolling the dice yet again, as they have done every year in recent memory. Jansson won’t be swayed by empty promises and “more of the same”. Presumably he needs to see the club tangibly making good on any promise of promotion.
He rightly said that there’s interest in him but now isn’t the time for such things, he’ll assess his future when the World Cup is over. Which is ominous because it very much sounds like he’s leaving (which negates the prospect of bringing in Kyle Bartley, as they are super-human together).
So here we go, more uncertainty and very little to believe in just yet. But the excitement really begins if Bielsa comes in because man, there are going to be changes. Big changes. Many changes.