Contrary to popular opinion Watford didn’t approach Diego Martinez before handing Claudio Ranieri a return to the Premier League but The Athletic has pointed out the former La Liga boss does have connections at Leeds United.
When Martinez bid a fond farewell to Granada in May, the 40-year-old may have assumed his phone would be ringing constantly with managerial offers from across the continent.
The one-time Sevilla B coach guided the Nazaries to promotion in his first season at the Nuevo los Carmenes in 2018/19.
Less than two years later, Granada were going head to head with Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals.
Whisper it, but there’s a touch of the Bielsas about the way Martinez turned the Granada ship around.
Like Marcelo the Mercurial, he arrived at an ambitious second-tier side and immediately transformed their fortunes. He built a team far greater than the sum of its parts while elevating the club to its rightful position in the Premier League.
Could Diego Martinez replace Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United?
According to The Athletic, Martinez wants to test his tactical chops in England.
Leeds United have been linked, not only because Marcelo Bielsa will become a free agent in the summer but also because Victor Orta, the club’s cult hero director of football, worked with Martinez at Sevilla.
However, contrary to popular belief it’s understood Watford did not make an approach for Martinez.
The Hornets made Claudio Ranieri their top target as soon as faith in Xisco Munoz started to drain away, hiring the former Leicester City, Roma, Chelsea and Fulham boss as their new (interim?) head coach.
Xisco became the latest victim of Watford’s hair-trigger owners following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of a revitalised Leeds. That came after a fortunate draw with struggling Newcastle United.
The hope will be that Ranieri, who turns 70 this month, can make a similar impact at Vicarage Road to the one he made at Sampdoria. The ‘Tinkerman’ saved the Blucerchiati from relegation in his first season before leading them to ninth place in his second.