Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou has admitted he learned so much from his time under Marcelo Bielsa at Marseille amid claims he could be reunited with the veteran coach at Leeds United, speaking to Marca.
While Andre Villas-Boas pulled off a minor miracle by guiding crisis-ridden L’OM to second in the Ligue 1 table last season, even he couldn’t emulate the impact an enigmatic Argentine made during his time in the South of France.
For a brief and brilliant period in 2014, Bielsa had Marseille fans dreaming of only their second domestic title since the turn of the century.
Les Phoceens were top at Christmas, all the while playing a thrilling, high-octane brand of football Bielsa has made his trademark throughout his storied managerial career, from Bilbao to West Yorkshire.
And though Marseille dropped off in the second half of 2014/15 – finishing fourth in the end – Nkoulou still looks back on his time under one of football’s most influential tacticians with a great deal of fondness.
“The season in Marseille, with Marcelo Bielsa, taught me a lot. I have to say it,” the former Monaco and Lyon defender explains.
And, according to Calciomercato, Nkoulou could be standing tall at the heart of a Bielsa back line again before long.
The 75-time Cameroon international is due to become a free agent in July and Leeds have apparently identified the powerhouse centre-half as a player capable of strengthening the Premier League’s second-worst defence.
However, Nkoulou isn’t thinking too far ahead just yet. His focus remains firmly fixed on helping Torino escape relegation to Serie B.
“For now, the only obsession is to triumph at the end of the season with my teammates and brothers in Torino. We will fight for the survival of the club,” Nkoulou explains.