Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

Leeds United have targeted ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe to take over at Elland Road if a deal cannot be agreed to keep Marcelo Bielsa for a third season, according to the Sun (23 August, page 65).

With just three weeks remaining until the Whites play their first Premier League fixture in 16 years – an away trip to champions Liverpool no less – they currently have no head coach in place; technically speaking at least.

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Bielsa, of course, is expected to sign a new £8 million-a-year contract sooner rather than later, with the legendary Argentine set to become the first manager to lead the Yorkshire giants in a top-flight game since Eddie Gray in 2004.

But, while Bielsa enjoyed arguably the greatest season in his storied managerial career in 2019/20, the famously flighty Argentine could have been replaced by Howe if he had shuffled off into the sunset once promotion was secured.

Howe, 23 years Bielsa’s junior, is currently out of work after Bournemouth’s five-year spell in the top flight of English football came to an end.

Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

While a disastrous campaign has dented the reputation of arguably the most highly-rated young manager in British football, it should not be forgotten that Howe not only took the Cherries into dreamland, but also established them there until the goals dried up and those defensive deficiencies were brutally exposed.

Fortunately for Leeds, Bielsa still has unfinished business in West Yorkshire.

And if he can emulate the work Howe did on the south coast, there will be a bespectacled, bucket-perching statue sitting outside Elland Road before too long.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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