This summer Bielsa worked at Leeds without a contract. The fans were afraid that he would freak out and leave (as in Lazio and Marseille)

It is important for Marcelo to re-sign the agreement every year on new terms.

Leeds are back in the Premier League for the first time since 2004. The main reason is Marcelo Bielsa: the Argentine has built a nice team in two seasons, from which he is called up to the England national team, and the newcomers come to work with Marcelo.

True, the fans spent the end of the summer in suspense: Bielsa’s contract ended at the end of last season, and the Argentinean did not sign a new one for a long time. Despite the de facto status of unemployed, Marcelo continued to train, communicate with journalists and study scout reports in local cafes.

At a press conference before the game with Liverpool, Marcelo said that the owner of the club – Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani – and the coach agreed:

“We have settled all the details. I will coach Leeds United this season. “

Bielsa always negotiates for a long time – every little thing matters

From the outside, the story seems very strange: the club and the coach, who brought this club to the elite, dragged out two months with the signing of a new deal – which means they doubted the continuation.

Argentine media outlet La Nacion claims that Marcelo resisted despite a hefty £ 8m a year. The whole problem is in the deadline: the leadership offered two years, Bielsa again insisted on one… It is important for him to update the terms of the deal every season. It’s not about money – it’s just that when signing a new deal, you can fix in writing a list of requirements for management.

Nobody knows the exact points, but according to information from Phil Haye – the main Leeds specialist at The Athletic – among them strengthening the roster (bought Rodrigo, Koch, bought out Melier and Costa) and restriction of communication with the press. Bielsa hates one-on-one communication – at the very first press conference he said that he had not come for the sake of demagoguery. In the Championship, he tried (unsuccessfully) to fight Sky Sports – the broadcaster demanded flash interviews before and after the match. In the Premier League, the level of media coverage is even higher: any of the official broadcasters (local or foreign) can request an exclusive interview. Perhaps Leeds can influence the number of Bielse’s appearances in the press – otherwise Marcelo would not have asked.

Another factor that delays the process is banal bureaucracy: Bielsa does not speak English enough to understand the legal details, so the documents are translated into Spanish, and then back. In addition, Marcelo does not have an agent: the Argentinean prefers to delve into himself or delegate the decision to his brother Rafael. But Leeds did not have to negotiate with the headquarters: Bielsa independently pays the salaries to assistants (according to rumors, very generous).

Insider The Athletic reports that the parties agreed more than a month ago, and in recent weeks they have been solving small details. The club signed an automatically renewable contract with Bielsa last year: Bielsa received money on the fact of work. But such a contract is only suitable for training – the Premier League management is much stricter when it comes to managing the team in the match: rule P7 requires that “the manager’s employment must be confirmed by a written contract, a copy of which must be submitted within seven days of its entry into force. “.

True, there were no problems with this: the preliminary agreement, which the parties concluded in August, is considered written evidence.

Leeds are used to it: for the third year in a row, they have been negotiating details with Bielsa – a process that took so long in 2018 that the club almost missed the registration deadline.

How obsessed with details is Bielsa?

1. By the first meeting with Leeds’ sporting director, Victor Horta Bielsa, he had obtained documents from the Yorkshire land registry and knew what every foot of the Thorpe Arch training base looked like – and what it should look like.

2. “On the day the contract was signed, I received a text message from South America,” says Phil Hay. – The text is as follows: “Marcelo will sign the contract at six o’clock Argentine time. In the meantime, I’ll look for a revolver “

At the end of the first season (Leeds were eliminated in the playoffs semifinals for a ticket to the Premier League), Marcelo presented the management with a detailed report, in which he emphasized the missed opportunity: the team was the best in the league in statistics, but wasted chances, and at the end of the season, behind a short bench. To improve the result and enter the Premier League directly, the coach demanded:

• to sign players to attack – Eddie Nketia and Elder Costa came;

• to replace Pontus Jansson, who is not suitable for Bielse – the defender was sold to Brentford and replaced by Ben White, who knows how to pass;

• to hire strong players – the aforementioned Nketia, Costa and White, as well as keeper Ilan Mellier, who became the main one, were signed for the season.

Bielsa gave a result, and in the summer of 2020 the situation repeated itself: the contract ended, Marcelo needed new guarantees.

Bielsa had already left due to non-fulfillment of promises, and worked at Marseilles without a contract

“I cannot put up with the unstable situation that is happening in the club. I gave the team all my strength. I finished my work here and will return to Argentina. And no, I haven’t found another job, “- Bielsa’s press conference after the defeat to Kahn (0: 1) in the first round of the 2015/16 season nailed everyone.

The contract with the coach (for one season, of course) ended on July 1, 2015, for more than a month he worked with the team without a contract. Negotiations on the extension of the contract began in May – they were personally led by the president of the club, Vincent LaBrune. A few weeks before the start of the championship, the parties were supposed to sign a new contract – but instead of LaBroune, the lawyers of the club’s owner, Marguerite Louis-Dreyfus, came to the meeting.

The document they brought differed from the previous version, which Labrune assured: according to the regional publication La Provence, bonuses were removed from the contract and the deadline was changed – Bielsa demanded 1 + 1 with automatic renewal if the club takes at least 4th place.

Inconsistency of details is an important point, but also in the relationship with the management. The words about another job were said for a reason – two years later Bielsa explained that Labrue did not trust him.

“Recently the former president of Marseille [Лабрюн] said that I left the club because I could not cope with the pressure, – said Bielsa in 2017. – But this is nonsense. I will tell you how it was.

After one of the games, the president started shouting to my coaching staff: “Mexico, Mexico!” He hinted that I was going to lead the Mexican national team, so I resigned.

But this is not the only reason. The departure from Marseille was also due to the fact that the lawyer of the club owner said that my salary would be cut by 10 percent, without giving any arguments. So I resigned. I put it all in writing. ”

After Marseille, the Argentine rested for a year and took over the leadership of Lazio. More precisely, he agreed to be the head – Marcelo never started his functions. The chronology is very important here.

July 6, 2016. The official website of the club informs about the appointment of Bielsa – on July 9 the Argentine will arrive in Italy to sign the contract.

July 8. The coach unilaterally tore up the preliminary agreement with Lazio.

July 9. Bielsa released a statement explaining his decision:

• during the month of negotiations, the parties did not sign any of the seven players who were approved by Lazio President Claudio Lotito at the first meeting with the coach;

• 18 players left the team, on whom Bielsa was counting – apparently, we are talking about young people who left on loan;

• to implement the work program, the club had to sign at least four players by July 5 to complete the full pre-season training with Bielsa. Lazio didn’t do it.

Last year, Lotito revealed that he actually kicked the coach out:

“The sports director Igli Tare called me. He said he bought several players, but Bielse didn’t like them. He spoke down with Tara – as if the only one here understands something. At one point, I felt so sorry for Tara that I told the coach: “Listen, mister, it’s time for you to leave.”

The president is wrong: Jordan Lukaku came to Lazio on July 22, 2016; Immobile, Bashtush, Luis Alberto and Wallace even later.

In any case, even if negotiations were already underway, Bielse did not like the atmosphere of mistrust.

Leeds’ sporting director has loved Bielsa since 2002. I called him to Sevilla and Zenit

So what’s the difference between Marseille, Lazio and Leeds? It’s simple – the management of the English club is delighted with Bielsa.

The Argentinean’s invitation is an idea from Victor Horta.

“At the 2002 World Cup I worked as a journalist for Radio Marca. Argentina entered the tournament with an almost perfect result [всего 1 поражение в отборочном турнире]and there was no team or coach that attracted me more, ”the Leeds sports leader told The Athletic.

Argentina 2002 – a forgotten masterpiece by Marcelo Bielsa

Horta twice before Leeds tried to push Bielsa’s invitation: at Sevilla, where he was Moncha’s assistant, and at Zenit, when he was head of the scouting service.

I tried to sign Bielsa to the clubs where I worked three times (before Leeds there were Sevilla and Zenit). He has always been my favorite coach.“, – explained Victor in an interview with Sky.

They say in the club that Orta and Bielsa can yell at each other for hours – but this does not interfere with their relationship at all: both understand that this is a cost of character. For Marcelo, something else is important – the sports director accepts the main principles of work.

“My task is to help him: fulfill wishes, offer my ideas. In both Sevilla and Zenit, the leaders thought primarily about the results, but Bielsu should not be limited only to the results here and now. It requires raising the standards of the club, the growth of all players, employees, infrastructure, ”Horta’s words from the same interview with Sky explain why Bielsa spoke about the training base at the first meeting.

Another quote from Orta:

“Working with Marcelo is like daily learning, which is enjoyable because you grow and feel better. You notice your own progress. ”

Bielsa himself does not like to talk a lot – but his attitude towards Leeds can be felt in the very first press conference:

I think I got into a club that is more than I deserve. Now my goal is to prove that I was not trusted in vain“.

One question: why did Leeds lie about the terms of the contract in 2018?

There is only one detail that confuses this story: the club for some reason lied about the date of Bielsa’s very first contract. The Argentinean came to Leeds in the summer of 2018 – the conditions were stated in the announcement on the official website: two years with the possibility of extension for another year – the item activates the club… If so, then in the summer of 2020 Bielsa’s two-year contract expired – it is logical to assume that the management used the option of extending the coach, who returned Leeds to the Premier League after 16 years. Then why did all the sources say that the term had come to an end?

“No, Marcelo hasn’t signed a new contract yet,” Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear said at the end of August. – I know fans are nervous. I’m a little nervous too, but I’m sure there is no reason for that. Marcelo is totally focused on training, but like last season (when everyone was nervous about the last contract), he wants to get time to focus on the details. ”

Real news adds to the picture. In mid-May 2019, Leeds were eliminated from the semi-finals. According to Phil Haye, the Argentinean coaching staff began to pack. The Guardian reported that Marcelo not sure if the contract should be renewed against the background of absenteeism in the nuclear submarine.

Bielsa stayed for another year – here’s a quote from the official press release:

Leeds are pleased to confirm that Andrea Radrizzani officially took the opportunity to renew the contract Marcelo Bielsa for the second season.

Bielsa signed a two-year contract with Leeds in June 2018, with the club retained the right to renew or terminate the deal at the end of the first year“.

And here are the words of Andrea Radrizzani:

“I am very glad that Marcelo agreed to stay for another year – we have unfinished business. We were close and will work harder next season to reach our goal. ”

It turns out that the official information from the club is incorrect: Bielsa had a 1 + 1 contract, and the decision on the second year was made by both parties. This is confirmed by Haye, The Guardian and indirectly by the words of the chairman. Perhaps the club just wanted to reassure the fans with the news of the long-term contract of a class specialist.

Photo: Gettyimages/George Wood, Michael Regan; globallookpress/Panoramic/ZUMAPRESS

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