You can understand why Leeds United fans have been left aghast and rather exhilarated by reports that Paul Heckingbottom could be replaced by none other than Marcelo Bielsa.
El Correo reports that Leeds have lined up the 62-year-old Argentine while the Yorkshire Evening Post claims he is a genuine target for the Whites this summer. But why are links with a manager who has not won a trophy since 1998 causing such a fuss?
Well, because Bielsa is one of the most revolutionary and innovative coaches of his generation. He is a man revered by Mauricio Pochettino and called the world’s best by Pep Guardiola. He also turned Chile into one of the game’s most watchable sides with his free-flowing, high-pressing system and tore Manchester United to shreds with Athletic Bilbao.
It would be quite an unpopular opinion to express, then, that Steve Bruce would still be a better option for Leeds than the infamous Bielsa.
Bruce is no maverick or tactical inspiration. In fact, he was criticised by some Aston Villa fans for a reductive or ‘direct’ style of play. And, while Bielsa is known across the world as ‘El Loco’, Bruce is one of the calmest, most softly spoken gaffers around.
But Bruce is also a man who has proved he has what it takes in the Championship. He won promotion twice each with Birmingham and Hull and led Villa to the play-off final this season, putting him on Leeds’ radar according to the Daily Star.
You know what you are getting with Bruce. Bielsa, not so much. His last two jobs, after all, hardly enhanced his glowing reputation. Bielsa left Lazio after just two days in 2016 before lasting just 19 games at Lille. He won just five of those matches.
Leeds need consistency rather than yet more upheaval. In that sense, Bruce is the right man, not Bielsa.