Real Madrid coach Paul Clement has emerged as the fourth favourite for the Leeds United job with bookies which, given their previous linked potential managers, has sent Leeds Untied fans into a bit of a frenzy.
The 42-year-old, unlike most coaches, has never played professional football unlike his Dad and younger brother, but has a wealth of coaching experience nearly 20-years long with some of the world’s best regarded clubs.
Clement, the assistant to Acelotti at PSG at the time, speaking in March last year over PSG’s qualification for the Champions League quarter-final, said: ‘It’s been an incredible journey, it doesn’t seem two minutes since I was that secondary school teacher. But, in some ways, it’s not a total shock. This is something I’d aimed for, even if actually being here is a dream. Teaching gave me a foundation: organisation, planning, understanding different styles and needs, the importance of good communication. I’ve taken that into my coaching.’
The humble background and struggle to get respect in football is difficult to imagine. Even now at Real Madrid, he is an assistant coach with French legend Zinedine Zidane and has to carry the same weight of respect from players that Madrid legend does.
Paul Clement has reportedly already turned down interest from West Bromwich Albion, as well as Championship side Brighton, in order to follow his instinct and remain as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Real Madrid. However, Leeds United arguably offers him a different challenge to the other two clubs and he could be the man to take the Yorkshire club back to the top.
And, he has previously indicated that he wants a managerial job eventually, stating: ‘If I didn’t get that opportunity at some stage I’d be really disappointed, but there’s no rush. I’ve gained a lot of experience in football, at a lot of different levels, but I’m still a young coach learning from one of the best managers in the World [Ancelotti].’
As a predominant coach, he would offer the perfect fit for Cellino as the Italian owner looks to go down the ‘European’ route of management at Leeds United, which was one of the reasons McDermott was relieved of his duties.
He has worked himself up through the youth ranks, worked with various types of players and worked in various countries which, given Leeds United have been linked to several different types of players under Cellino, suggests he may be the best man to unite them all in a coaching system. It would also allow Cellino's strong links in Italy to coincide with Clement's strong links to France, England and Spain in order to push the net out and sign players which are a good fit for the Yorkshire club.
Nevertheless, it would all come down to whether Leeds United can do what West Brom and Brighton couldn’t and prise him away high-profiled coaching job in Madrid. It has arguments both for and against, but the Leeds job could be an incredibly hard one to turn down.