The most perplexing thing about the proximity of Leeds appointing a huge candidate like Bielsa as head coach is how it’ll work commercially. I can accept that Andrea Radrizzani has a star-laden contact book, filled with super-agents and other influential figures. I can accept that Bielsa might consider this an exciting and challenging project worthy of his attention. But what I can’t get my head around is how it’ll work from a financial standpoint.
Marcelo Bielsa was on around £8m per year at Lille, which accounts for 40% of Leeds’ total wage budget last season (reported to be around £20m). That’s around £150k per week, which is a lot of money. Even Aston Villa would have considered that too much, and they spent money like an 18 year old at Fresher’s week with an entire education loan burning a hole in their pocket.
Rumours of Bielsa taking over the US national side indicated a salary of $4m was requested (around £3m). If we accept that our wage ceiling is currently around the £20k/week mark, that would make Bielsa earn three-times as much as our top earner. However much stock you place in such reported figures it’s still clear to see – under normal circumstances Marcelo is comfortably beyond our affordability. Yet, conversations have been progressing for the last few weeks which suggests that there is feasibility.
It’s reported that both parties are negotiating the role and Bielsa has been reviewing the current Leeds United squad (god help him). This does confirm the notion that there’s intent and interest there, it just comes down to finding a package that works for all involved. He’ll want to dictate the transfer policy in order to create a squad he feels is capable of achieving his objectives. He has history in this regard; he often joins clubs and asserts what the club needs. At Lazio he left after just 2 days. The rumour was that he had demanded a certain few players be acquired and the club weren’t likely to make good on that promise, so he left. Prompting Lazio to pursue a€50m breach of contract legal claim.
So it’s obviously something both parties are keen on, but you’d have to imagine that Radrizzani is having to commit to a certain degree of change – specifically around the playing squad. But I just can’t fathom how this works financially -Bielsa is a big ticket item and we’re notoriously careful with how we spend.
Watch this space.