Leeds United boss tried for Antonio Conte.

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has told Gianluca Di Marzio that he tried to hire Antonio Conte before Marcelo Bielsa.

The Leeds owner was referring back to the end of the 2018 season, when he was looking for his third manager.

After trying relative unknowns Thomas Christiansen and Paul Heckingbottom, a determined Radrizzani was set on hiring a big name.

He decided to go after Antonio Conte, who at the time had just won the FA Cup with Chelsea, but was waiting to be fired after a poor league finish, and was replaced with Maurizio Sarri.

Conte is now Inter Milan boss, and despite Radrizzani’ intention to pay him well, politely declined Leeds’ offer.

Radrizzani said: “It was at the end of my first year here, which was hard. I’m someone who values money and I made myself. I was in the car with our sports director (Victor Orta), we were going to Leeds. I ask him, ‘Let’s make 3 names to be promoted.’ Then I tell him I could pay Conte 20 million and I’m sure we’ll go up.

“But I knew he had much higher ambitions, but I tried in a friendly and sympathetic way.

“My sporting director then told me that Bielsa would be ideal but it was impossible. As soon as I felt ‘impossible’, I told him to call him. He didn’t answer, we left him a message, and the next day, when we talked to him, Bielsa had already watched eight team games and talked about the players.”

Radrizzani did not disclose who the third name on his list was and we may never find out.

Bielsa has led Leeds to the top of the Championship, before football found itself paused due to the ongoing health threat around the world.

If Leeds can win promotion, then Radrizzani’s ambition will enter a new phase, with the club having a new status and boosted finances. Anything will feel possible.

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